Berkeley undergrads join Sen. Boxer to discuss federal student-loan crisis

A press conference in San Francisco Friday held by Sen. Barbara Boxer took up the issue of federal student loans, whose rates are set to double without Congressional action.

Students at press conference

UC Berkeley students Spencer Pritchard and Lily Adams with Sen. Barbara Boxer

UC Berkeley sophomore Lily Adams, a Seattle native, and freshman Spencer Pritchard, from Santa Barbara, were among the Bay Area college students who spoke with Boxer about the likely impact — on themselves and 570,000 other California students — if loan rates do double. After the press conference, they were interviewed by reporters.

Senate Republicans earlier this week, objecting to how it would be funded, blocked a bill that would have prevented rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans from rising from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent starting July 1.

If Washington fails to act, more than 7.4 million students nationwide will have to pay thousands more for their education. U.S. student debt, which recently surpassed $1 trillion, is greater than what Americans owe on their credit cards.