CONTACT: NH Dem Party, (603) 225-6899

Ask Bass & Bradley To Reverse Their Vote For the Cuts on Wednesday

CONCORD, NH - Students and parents from across New Hampshire
are asking their Congressmen to vote against the biggest cut to college
aid in U.S. history, due for a final vote on Wednesday. Congressmen
Bass and Bradley voted for a similar cut before the holidays, but have
a chance to reverse their vote this week.

"I am asking Congressman Bass and Congressman Bradley to please
reverse their December votes to cut student loan programs and vote
no when it comes back up on the floor," said Nicholas Gunn, junior at
Plymouth State University who traveled to a Franklin town hall meeting
earlier this month to present his concerns to Congressman Bass in person.
Bass was dismissive.

"I, like many college students, depend on private loans to pay for
college. I don't understand how they can justify voting to cut funding
from financial aid programs when so many people rely on these program
to pay for college."

Students at seven campuses across New Hampshire are circulating a
petition with hundreds of signatures, calling on Bass and Bradley to
reverse their vote for the student aid cuts.

The $12.7 billion cut in student aid makes up the largest piece of a
budget reconciliation bill due for a vote on Wednesday of this week.
The legislation also includes cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and other
programs, and is paired with expensive tax breaks for a net impact of
increasing the budget deficit by $66 billion next year.

The legislation includes a wide variety of cuts to college aid
programs, including a hike in interest rates on parent loans from
7.9% to 8.5% in July of this year; a 1% "insurance fee" on all loans;
an extension on the practice of allowing lenders to charge excessive,
above-market interest rates on many student and parent loans; and a
$2.2 billion cut in the resources used to process applications and
ensure that aid is delivered to students correctly.

"It imposes a series of pretty draconian costs increases on borrowers
and their families in the form of increased up-front fees, said Barmak
Nassirian, Associate Executive Director of the American Association
of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officials. "Almost one-third
of the total cuts contained in this reconciliation bill come out of the
hide of the student loan programs. The student loans represents one
percent of total entitlement spending in budget. The program that
constitutes one percent of the total budgets bears almost a third of
the cuts."

"There are aspects of the legislation that strike us as favoring the
loan industry at the expense of borrowers. Students are being asked
to sacrifice at the same time as the loan industry gets off scot-free."
Seventy percent of the cuts will be shouldered directly by parents
and students who borrow money to pay for college. For the typical
parent borrowing money for their students, the hike in interest rates
alone would amount to an additional cost of $680 (average parent
loan: $9,416 over 15 years). In New Hampshire, 37,666 students
currently borrow money to attend college.

"To take 12.7 billion away from our availability and raise interest
rates so that money could be given back to the wealthy - I can't
understand it," said Bryan Lamirande, who traveled to Littleton
earlier this month to attend a town hall meeting and ask Congressman
Bass to vote against the package. Bass was dismissive.

"You're adding to the burden that myself as a parent and my children
have to bear to go to college to have a future in this country."