Richardson signs student debt petition to Congress

SA runoff, John Richardson
Student Association President John Richardson signed a petition Tuesday to ask Congress to stop the interest rate on Stafford loans from doubling this summer. Hatchet File Photo

The Student Association’s leader signed a petition Tuesday calling for Congress to address mounting student loan debt.

President John Richardson was one of 200 student government leaders from colleges nationwide to sign the letter urging congressional leaders to pass legislation that would prevent the 3.4 percent interest rate on Stafford loans from doubling this summer.

He said the petition was “in line with the work that I’ve been trying to do all year to keep cost of attendance down.”

The letter discusses the growing concern among students about the cost of higher education, highlighting that one out of every two graduating students are unemployed or employed at a job for which they are over-qualified.

“There has long been a promise that, if a student goes to college, works hard, and does well, they will have a more prosperous future ahead of them,” the letter reads. “Student loan debt is severely undermining that prospect.”

GW students typically graduate with about $32,500 in debt – higher than the average of $25,250 that 2010 college graduates accrued, according to the most recent data available from the Project on Student Debt.

“I’m not sure how many of our grads have jobs yet, but no one wants to have this much debt,” Richardson said.

The National Campus Leadership Council, a coalition of student government presidents from across the country, spearheaded the push for signatures.

Representatives from Georgetown, American, Howard and Catholic universities also signed the petition.

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