Congressional Candidate Jim Craig Supports Working Families and the Future Generation of College Students

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jean Weinberg

603.203.8557

CALLS FOR TAKING FIRST STEPS IN MAKING COLLEGE AFFORDABLE AND WORKING TOWARD LOWERING COLLEGE DEBT FOR FAMILIES AND STUDENTS

(July 6, 2006)-- Today, Jim Craig, Candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s First District called for first steps to make college more affordable for New Hampshire’s working families and to work toward lowering college debt for families and students. In the face of tuition increases of 5 to 7 percent this fall at campuses statewide and rising interest rates, Jim Craig is offering solutions to make a college education more accessible to working families.

Congressman Jeb Bradley (NH-01) voted with Republican Party leadership in December to cut $12.7 billion from student aid programs, the largest single cut in history. Sallie Mae made over $1 billion last year and its CEO took home over $40 million in compensation. Jeb Bradley (NH-01) voted with the GOP Congress to put big profitable special interest lenders like Sallie Mae ahead of the interests of working families.

“It’s time to put families and students first, not big Washington special interests. Our children deserve a clean start in life, not excessive and increasing debt,” Jim said. “My son Will just graduated from college so I know first hand what it is like to be saddled in thousands of dollars of debt because you want your child to get good education. We need to stop the special interest lenders who are profiting off of New Hampshire’s working families.”

Jim Craig supports a plan that would make college more affordable without increasing the cost for taxpayers and without increasing the deficit. Jim said, “By making college affordable we ultimately make our society more productive and boost our economy.”

Jim Craig’s First Steps to Make College More Affordable:

Ø Increase the maximum Pell Grant from $4,050 to $5,100 this year

Ø Double the HOPE Scholarship tax credit from $1,500 per student to $3,000 per student

Ø Make the Hope tax credit refundable

Ø Allow borrowers to consolidate their student loans more than once (i.e. refinance like a home mortgage) - so that they can take advantage of lower interest rates.

Since 2000, tuition has increased an average of 5.4 percent to 6.3 percent each year statewide. The interest rate on Stafford loans in repayment for student borrowers just rose from 5.3 percent to 7.14 percent, while the interest rate on parent PLUS loans rose from 6.1 percent to 7.94 percent. The 1.84 percent rate increase is the second largest increase in the history of the federal student loan program, close behind last year’s increase of 1.93 percent. [New Hampshire Union Leader, “University System Tuitions Rising Again,” 6/1] [http://www.nhheaf.org/]

Jim Craig, candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s First District, is a lifelong resident of New Hampshire and his roots in the Granite State stretch for five generations. As a veteran of the US Army, he worked for his law degree with the help from the GI Bill and joined his family's law practice. For over 20 years, he has promoted the health and well-being of families by serving on non-profit community boards. He was elected to the New Hampshire State House in 1998 and now serves as Democratic Leader. While in Concord, he worked tirelessly to create bipartisan, practical solutions for the state. As leader, he created a labor caucus that addresses working families' concerns.