I have written to numerous organizations and individuals about my story and what I am trying to accomplish. This is the page to see the responses that I get.
An Email from Bernie Sanders
I sent my story to all three of my national representatives, so far the only response has come from Senator Bernie Sanders, who took the opportunity to let me know what action is and has been taking place on capital hill related to student financial aid issues.
Dear Mr. Link:
Thank you for contacting me about the difficulty you face with paying your student loans. All across this nation, millions of people are struggling with their finances and student debt only adds to that struggle. As a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, I appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns on this important issue.
In these tough economic times we must not forget those who struggle to pay their student loan debt. I have worked on many initiatives to reduce the cost of student loans during my tenure in the Senate. For example, I was a strong proponent of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. That act expanded Pell Grants, lowered the interest rates for college loans and developed a major new debt forgiveness program. The act will reduce interest rates to 3.4 percent by 2011, a 50 percent reduction of current rates. Funds of $6.2 billion will go toward reducing interest rates, of which almost $27 million will go to Vermont students. The act represented the most significant overhaul in decades in higher education funding and helped ease the financial burden of college education for students and their families in Vermont and all across the country.
As you may be aware, the economic stimulus package included $16 billion in discretionary funds for higher education. These funds will be used to support the Pell Grant program, the Federal Work-Study program and the Teacher Quality Partnership Program. These funds will increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,350 for the 2010-2011, thus lessening the necessity of taking on large amounts of college loans. Additionally, the President’s Budget calls for a $2,500 tax credit to help pay tuition costs as well as for the creation of a new Perkins Loan program that will be able to offer cheaper loans than the current program. The new program, by ending subsidies to financial institutions, will result in savings of over $4 billion dollars that can be reinvested in cheaper student loans and grants.
In addition, we must confront the high cost of college education. The problem is that over the past years college education costs have consistently been rising faster than inflation. This has made college education prohibitively expensive for many families. In today’s struggling economy, we must make investment in education a priority in order to make sure we recover from this crisis as a stronger nation.President Obama as proposed many investments in education during his time in office. I fully support the President’s agenda and look forward to continue working with him and my colleagues in the 111th Congress to make sure that we achieve the President’s goal of having the highest percentage of college graduates in the world by 2020.
Again, thank you for contacting me about this important issue. Feel free to contact me again in the future about this or any other subject of interest to you, or for up-to-date information on what my office is working on please visit http://www.sanders.senate.gov. While there, I invite you to sign up for my e-newsletter, the Bernie Buzz, at http://sanders.senate.gov/buzz/. Please be aware that due to security screening procedures, postal mail to my office experiences delays that will lengthen the time it takes me to get back to you. The fastest way to contact my office is by calling 1-800-339-9834.
United States Senator