Sherrod Brown speaks at Owens about student loan bill

PERRYSBURG, OH (Toledo News Now) - Senator Sherrod Brown met with students at Owens Community College Monday to discuss the looming deadline for Congress to freeze interest rates on subsidized loans.

The senator is calling to pass a new bill to keep more than 380,000 Ohio students from paying more for student loans. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have until July 1 to pass legislation. If they do not, rates on subsidized loans will double. That means 25,000 students in Lucas County alone would be paying thousands more for their education.

"Ten years from now, my daughter will be 11. I should be saving up for her college, not repaying my own," said Jakki Kleinhans, an OCC student.

If Congress does not push legislation through to stop it, the interest on subsidized student loans will jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

"I will also be expected to make monthly payments of over $350 a month for 10 years. For a student freshly out of college, this is a commitment extremely difficult to make," said Clinton Reed, an OCC student.

Brown said not only will no action make footing the bill for college tougher, it could also defer the American Dream.

"What it means is that students are going to be less likely to be able to buy a house, or start a family, or start a business, or reach their dreams when they get out of college," explained Brown.

Kleinhans is now worried about her future, and her daughter's.

"It's a scary thought to think what her future is going to look like when I'm looking at my own and how bleak it is now," said Kleinhans.

Brown said it is the job of lawmakers in Washington to help make sure the dream remains available to those chasing it, without taking away from others.

"I just hope that my colleagues stop the filibuster, realize that we've got to do this. We should pay for it. We should pay for it by closing a tax loop hole, not pay for it by setting a woman getting a mammogram against a college student that needs financial aid," said Brown.

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act cut the fixed interest rates on the loans back in 2007. However, Brown said unless Congress acts, those rates will sky rocket, leaving college students empty handed.

Copyright 2012 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.