July 2, 2012
Contact: Tia T. Gordon
202-756-4851 or 202-906-0149
CARE STATEMENT: Asian American and Pacific Islander Student Leaders Hail Congress for Saving the 'Democratic Mission of Higher Education' in Ruling on Student Loan Rates
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) and the National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE)-the leading Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) student- and research-focused organizations, respectively-are commending Members of Congress for coming to a deal on student loan legislation. On Friday (June 29), an agreement was reached to keep the interest rate at 3.4 percent on new subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loans for undergraduate students from doubling to 6.8 percent. APIASF and CARE are both grateful to Senate and House leaders for working together to identify legislation that not only benefits every hardworking student, but also ensures that the large and growing 1.3 million AAPI student population gets a fair chance at postsecondary education.
Had the formally proposed bill passed into law-with its abundance of bad provisions-it would have offered no benefits to anyone. Additionally, the other bill would have created more challenges for AAPI students who are already struggling financially, academically, and socially. Our lawmakers are instead choosing to help advance the democratic mission of higher education through a proven and successful investment that will likely yield economic growth and serve as a major factor in ensuring our nation's ability to compete in a global society.
We, APIASF and CARE, believe Congress made the right choice. Although AAPI students continue to face ongoing concerns about earning a college degree, supporting this legislation offers reassurance that federal and state policymakers are concerned about meeting their unique needs. We are hopeful that this decisive legislation marks a turning point with lawmakers who should now understand that all students-especially AAPI students-require more inclusive access in higher education rather than burdensome legislation that may demoralize their civic engagement and social responsibility due to financial pressures.
Based in Washington, D.C., the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) is the nation's largest non-profit organization devoted to providing college scholarships for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). APIASF works to create opportunities for students to access, complete, and succeed after post-secondary education; thereby developing future leaders who will excel in their career, serve as role models in their communities, and will ultimately contribute to a vibrant America. Since 2003, APIASF has distributed more than $60 million in scholarships to deserving AAPI students. APIASF manages two scholarship programs: APIASF's general scholarship and the Gates Millennium Scholars/Asian Pacific Islander Americans funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE), consisting of a national commission, research advisory group, and research team at New York University, aims to engage realistic and actionable discussions about the mobility and educational opportunities for Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) and how distinctions of race, ethnicity, language, and other factors play out in the day-to-day operations of America's education system. Our goal is to provide much needed and timely research on key issues and trends related to access and participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in higher education.