Bipartisan Delegation Works Together to Help Tennesseans Pay for College

Tennessee Senators and Congressmen Call On Treasury, Federal Reserve For Concrete Action To Help Students and Families

Posted on April 17, 2008

The entire Tennessee Congressional delegation today called for action to ensure that Tennessee students and parents have access to loans to help pay for college in the coming year. Since February 18, 2008, almost 20 of the top 100 student lenders have stopped issuing federally guaranteed student loans. All 11 members of the Tennessee delegation – Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Representatives David Davis (R-Tenn. 1), John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn. 2), Zach Wamp (R-Tenn. 3), Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn. 4), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn. 5), Bart Gordon (D-Tenn. 6), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn. 7), John S. Tanner (D-Tenn. 8), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn. 9) – today wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke asking them to take action to help restore stability in the federal student loan marketplace and ensure continued access to student loans. “At a time when students and families are starting to determine how they will pay for college in the next school year, I’m proud that the Tennessee delegation came together to ask the Administration to ensure that all students will have options in paying for college,” Alexander said. “I will continue to work with the delegation to ensure that students and parents are getting the help they need.” “The current economic slowdown has made all types of credit, including student loans, less accessible and more costly. We need to act in a responsible manner to avoid a situation where students in Tennessee and throughout the country aren’t able to go to college because loans simply aren’t available,” said Corker. “I believe the temporary solution we’re recommending will help maintain access to student loans for the upcoming academic year while limiting any long-term taxpayer risk. I look forward to a prompt response from Chairman Bernanke and Secretary Paulson on how we can best solve this problem and reassure students who are worried about how they will afford college or postsecondary education.” “Students attending universities and colleges across our district, state and country are the future leaders of tomorrow,” Representative David Davis said. “It is our duty, as elected officials, to ensure that the future leaders of tomorrow have both the tools and access to capital they need to attain a higher education.” “The Federal Family Education Loan Program has helped many students in Tennessee attend college for over 20 years,” said Duncan. “The lottery scholarship program has been a great help, but it does not cover all post-secondary education costs. We need to make sure that student loans continue to be available to help as many families as possible.” “It is important that we work together to preserve the availability of student loans, particularly during this time of economic uncertainty,” said Congressman Zach Wamp. “The Treasury Department should use any available tools to restore confidence in the student loan market to provide stability and relief for lenders, students and families.” “No student with the talent and the desire to achieve the dream of a college education should miss the chance because they can’t afford to pay,” said Congressman Lincoln Davis. “We must do all we can to ensure that funding is available to student borrowers as they prepare for college this fall.” “Tennessee students shouldn’t be paying the price for bad investment decisions made by bankers in New York,” said Rep. Jim Cooper. “Nashville is called the Athens of the South because we have a proud tradition of opening the doors of education to all. We should ensure that students and their families can afford a college education by stabilizing student loan markets immediately.” “Thousands of Tennessee students depend on student loans to cope with the skyrocketing costs of attending college,” said Rep. Bart Gordon. “It’s important to make sure lenders have the capital they need to provide students with loans that enable them to finance their education and realize the dream of earning a degree.” “Higher education is the greatest long term investment this country can make in its future,” Congressman Blackburn said. “The Administration must take the appropriate action now to ensure that funding for that investment, in the form of student loans, is available.” “We have an absolute responsibility to ensure that our children can afford to go to college, regardless of how the winds blow on Wall Street,” Congressman Cohen said. “I worked for 20 of my 24 years in the Tennessee State Senate to pass an education lottery that has helped thousands of Tennessee students pay for college. However, without the ability to obtain a student loan, many of our hard-working students will miss out on their chance to receive a higher education.”