(Buck never met an educational loan lobbyist he didn’t love – promoted by SFBrianCL)
This week student loan interest rates increased from 5.3% to 6.8% for students and from 6.1% to up to 8.5% for parents borrowing for their children. This will put student loan rates far above prevailing market interest rates. The rate hike will mean a nearly $13,000 increase in the total cost of college for each student in the district. Buck voted for the interest rate hike, and helped pass it as chairman of the education committee. You would expect that Buck would find a $13,000 tax increase on the cost of a college education important enough to explain to his constituents. Right?
Buck’s Office on the Day of the Rate Increase
As it turns out, Buck didn’t think his rate increase was important enough to warrant returning home to his district. On the day the rate hike went into effect, Buck was nowhere to be found. No one in Buck’s office could tell us where he was. Why wasn’t Buck at home to explain how the rate hikes would benefit the people of the 25th district? Probably because the only people to benefit from the rate hike were student loan bankers handing out student loans. But why would Buck support student loan bankers instead of the students of his district? USNews and World Report says there are at least 262,000 reasons why.
While Buck was back in Washington D.C., Robert was busy gathering a group of us to canvass local colleges to urge students to consolidate their loans in advance of the rate hikes. The local media noticed the contrast.
We concluded the week’s events by joining a group of student supporters to protest the rate increases. Three local high school students gave fantastic speeches at Hart High School in Santa Clarita, calling on Congress to do more to make college affordable for all Americans. In a speech to the assembled supporters, Robert said that in today’s America access to an affordable education is the gateway to opportunity. He called on Buck to represent the people of the district, instead of big money.
After the speeches, the whole group of supporters went to Buck’s office to deliver him a bill in the amount that his rate increase would mean for the district. The total cost to the 2006 high school graduating class across the 25th district will exceed $40,000,000. Buck’s secretary graciously accepted the bill from us, in Buck’s absence. Students and parents of the district are still waiting on payment.
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait another day to find out exactly where the Buck stops.