WASHINGTON, DC – In an effort to assist students with the repayment of college loans, Congresswoman Mary Bono (CA-45) today cast her vote in support of H.R. 5, the College Student Relief Act of 2007. The bill, which will reduce the interest rate on subsidized, undergraduate Stafford student loans to 3.4% from the current 6.8%, passed with a final vote of 356 to 71.

“The expense imposed on most young Americans earning a higher education has been too high for too long,” stated Bono. “These costs impact not only students but often entire families. Although this bill only addresses a component in the overall cost of attending a college or university, it is a step in the right direction to support those students who are earning a college degree.”

The interest rate reduction on subsidized, undergraduate Stafford student loans will occur annually beginning on July 1, 2007; and the interest rate will drop to 6.12%. On July 1 in subsequent years, the interest rate will change as follows: 5.44%, 4.76%, 4.08%, and 3.40%.

The costs of implementing the College Student Relief Act of 2007 are offset by various changes to the lender program; many of which were initially proposed and supported by Bono in the House-passed version of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

“America’s future successes can only be calculated based on our ability to educate the minds of our young Americans,” said Bono. “For America to remain a leader in the global economic market, Congress must work in a bi-partisan fashion to create legislation that will broaden the accessibility of higher education to all prospective students; not just those who can afford it. Through the passage of this bill, Congress has shown its bi-partisan and universal commitment to the plight of our students.”