Although you may have been away throughout the summer, ASUM remained hard at work representing the students’ interests. Through new and old partnerships, ASUM has been able to remain productive and successful even though school was not in session. Issues at both the federal and state level have been discussed during the summer months and ASUM has ensured that the students’ voice was part of the conversation. As we gear up for another school year, we are all excited about the opportunity to once again engage, communicate, and represent students at the state and federal level.
House Bill 253 was introduced and passed during the 2013 regular session of the state legislature but vetoed by Governor Nixon. The purpose of the bill is to cut taxes and decrease the amount of revenue that the state government receives. This would decrease the state budget by a projected $800 million and place higher education funding at risk. Along with decreased funding to higher education, HB 253 would decrease the amount of state funded financial aid and increase the cost of textbooks. View this article put together by the Coalition for Missouri’s Future for more information on how the override of the Governor’s veto of HB 253 would be bad for students.
Student Loan Interest Rates
On July 1, 2013 the Stafford subsidized and unsubsidized federal student loan rates increased. This increase negatively affected undergraduate, graduate, and professional students across the country. Congress and the Obama Administration worked throughout the last two months to reverse this increase and obtain lower loan interest rates for students. After numerous plans were discussed, a final plan was agreed upon and signed by President Obama on August 9th. This plan allows undergraduates to borrow at 3.9%, graduates at 5.4%, and parents at 6.4%. These rates will remain constant over the life of the loan but will vary from year to year for new loans. Rates are capped at 8.25% for undergrads, 9.5% for graduate, and 10.5% for parents. ASUM supported the passage of this final agreement although we do not believe the bill is perfect. Higher education is this nation’s most sound investment and it should be be a priority of Congress to ensure it remains affordable.
Over the course of the summer, Congress has been attempting to enact a comprehensive reform to the laws governing immigration in this country. Through a partnership with the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students (NAGPS), ASUM developed an amendment to the immigration reform bill that would allow international students with F and J classification visas to domestically re-validate. This would save these students from having to leave the country to re-validate their visas and ensure that their exit and reentry to the country is simplified. More information regarding this amendment can be found here. ASUM and NAGPS continue to work with legislators to encourage the inclusion of this amendment into the immigration reform legislation currently being discussed in the House of Representatives.
Events & Openings
Address Regarding HB 253