Transportation Bill w/Student Loan Rate Extension Amendment Passes House

Berkley Pleased Student Loan Rates Won’t Double On Nevada Middle-Class Families, and Glad Designation of Interstate 11 From Las Vegas to Phoenix Included in Transportation Bill

Las Vegas – Today, U.S. Senate candidate Shelley Berkley released the following statement upon House passage of the bill to stop student loan rates from doubling on Nevada families and to re-authorize the surface transportation program, which included a provision designating Interstate 11 from Las Vegas to Phoenix:
“I’m pleased both sides of the aisle came together today to stop the student loan rate from doubling on Nevada middle-class families.  As the first person in my family to go to college, and as the mother of two sons, I know firsthand how important affordable education is to building a middle-class life, and that is why I’ll continue fighting to keep college affordable so that future generations of Nevadans have the same opportunities that I did to go to college, get a good job and raise a family.

“I’m also glad that the House approved legislation that will make Interstate 11 a reality. Connecting Las Vegas and Phoenix, the last remaining major metropolitan areas not linked by a modern highway, will boost our economy, create good-paying jobs in Nevada and make it easier for visitors to travel to the greatest tourist destination on earth.”


Berkley Voted To Authorize Transportation Programs And Extend 3.4 Percent Interest Rate On Student Loans.  In 2012, Berkley voted for the conference report on the bill that would authorize federal highway, mass transit and safety programs through fiscal 2014 at current levels with inflationary increases for certain programs. It would provide $21.2 billion for the Highway Trust Fund, $80 billion in contract authority for programs administered by the Federal Highway Administration in fiscal 2013 and 2014, and $21.3 billion for programs administered by the Federal Transit Administration. It also would extend the 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized federal student loans through July 1, 2013, reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program through Sept. 30, 2017 and provide for the distribution of penalties paid by those responsible for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill to Gulf Coast states for environmental restoration activities.  The conference report was adopted 373-52.  [HR 4348, Vote #451, 6/29/12]

Language Was Added Designating Route Between Phoenix And Las Vegas As interstate 11.  According to the Las Vegas Sun, “a joint committee of Congress inserted language officially designating a route between Phoenix and Las Vegas as Interstate 11…Passage of the legislation, which could come later today, wouldn’t provide funding for I-11, but it would put the route in line for federal dollars to upgrade U.S. 93 to interstate highway standards.  The designation is part of the $120 billion bill to renew transportation funding in the United States for the next two years. Current funding is due to expire this weekend.”  [Las Vegas Sun, 6/29/12]

Berkley Co-Sponsored Bill To Extend Student Loan Rate Reduction.  In 2012, Berkley co-sponsored HR 4816, which would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the reduced interest rate for Federal Direct Stafford Loans.  The bill would be funded by closing tax loopholes for big oil and gas companies.  [HR 4816, 4/25/12]

Making It Easier to Compare College Costs

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

— by Rohit Chopra, Student Loan Ombudsman, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Getting accepted to college should be cause for celebration, a point of pride for both students and their families. But with so much information to navigate about schools, grants, and loans, financing that education can sometimes be overwhelming.

We want it to be a little less daunting for people to figure out how they’ll pay for college.

Today, we take a big step in that direction with a new prototype Financial Aid Comparison Shopper.

Try it out:

Try the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper

This year, millions of students and families will sift through college acceptances and student loan information. We want to help them make the best college financing choices for themselves.

Our goal is to give parents and students, especially high school seniors, an easy-to-understand view of how their decisions today will impact their debt burdens after graduation. This tool helps users make side-by-side cost comparisons between schools, tailored to their unique financial circumstances and estimated costs of attendance.

This is just our starting point, and we need your help to ensure that the Financial Aid Comparison Shopper addresses the needs of students and their families. Your feedback will directly impact the changes we make before our full launch.

So tell us what you think. Did you learn something? Did you find it useful? If you are already in school or a graduate, would this tool have helped you when deciding which school to attend?

Was the tool easy to navigate? What about it was difficult to understand?

Whether you want to help students and their families understand their financial choices or you want to get a bit of insight into your own family’s choices, we invite you to test the public prototype of our new Financial Aid Comparison Shopper.


Sound Off on Student Loans

We’ve spent the past few months working hard on student loan issues. We launched a Know Before You Owe student loans project, released the Student Debt Repayment Assistant, and gathered information on the private student loan marketplace.

To make sure this market works for students, lenders, and schools, we need more information from the people who know this market best: the people who have been part of it.

We’ve published a notice in the Federal Register asking people to share their experiences with private student loans. We want to hear from anyone who has ever dealt with these loans: students, their families, school counselors, lenders, and servicers.

Do any of those sound like you? Then we need your input, but we need it soon. The comment period for this notice closes in just six days.

Tell us about your experience with private student loans.

Already, we’ve received hundreds of comments. But other people know their own experiences, not yours.

Your story gives your unique perspective on how people make decisions about which loans to borrow. That’s a perspective we want to hear.

If you’ve ever borrowed a private student loan, tell us more about whether this market did or did not work for you. Why did you take out a private loan? How did you decide to do it? Did it affect your study or career choices?

We’ll read every single comment. This summer, when we prepare a report to Congress on the private student loan market, your comment will help inform our work. And your comment will be part of the Federal Register so other people who may share a similar experience to yours can read it.

It’s a chance to have a direct impact on which issues we’ll examine closely in the coming months. But to add your comment to the Register, you need to submit it by January 17th.

Whether you have two sentences or two pages to tell us, we want to hear from you. It takes just a few minutes to submit your comment online.

Submit your comment today.

Thank you,
Rohit Chopra
Student Loan Ombudsman
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

P.S. There’s also still time to tell us your thoughts on our Know Before You Owe student loans project. Tell us what you like and what you’d improve about our prototype Financial Aid Shopping Sheet. We’ll be sure to read your feedback and share it with the Department of Education. Click here to participate.