Loan Rate Increase and STEM Education on Center Stage in DC

October 23, 2012
This week FIU in DC was advocating for our students on three fronts: student loans, immigration reform, and STEM Education. We also hosted the first event for our DC Summer Panthers Intern Program.
In the Senate this week, two competing bills aimed at avoiding a rate increase in federal loans offered by each party both failed-- ratcheting up the pressure for Congress to act before July 1.  Although the House has passed a bill, the President has threatened a veto as it does not include a provision to limit repayment based on income. At FIU, 21,170 students currently receive subsidized Stafford loans with an average loan indebtedness of $16,621.  Were rates to double, that would mean an average of $325 more in payments a year for the life of the loan.  For more information on FIU financial aid stats please visit our website at
FIU's team led a university coalition who visited the office of Senator Rubio to advocate for common-sense revisions to the current Immigration Bill.  In addition to increased funding for STEM initiatives, the higher education community oppose proposed regulations which would make it harder for schools like FIU to continue its constant push for innovation by restricting the access to H-1B workers.  Many research departments rely on H-1B employees for high skilled positions within the institution. 
Also troubling was a House vote which attempts to de-fund the Department of Homeland Security's Deferred Action policy-- which provides a path for DREAM act students to attend college.  Although a companion Senate action is not expected, we will continue monitoring.  
STEM Education + Global Endeavors 
This past week, President Obama released his plan for STEM education and FIU participated in a House hearing which raised criticism of the approach, for its approaches to underrepresented minorities and Hispanics.  For More information on our STEM efforts click here.  
Incoming Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC), Dr. Frank Mora, also visited USAID and its Latin American bureau to explore some exciting new possibilities for projects around the globe.  LACC's unique platform seeks to propel engagement in the region and be a resource for relevant policy making here in Washington.   
DC Summer Internship Experience. 
While it was a busy week for us on the Hill, we are happy to announce the launch of our DC Summer Internship Experience.  A student orientation and alumni meet and greet brought together the Golden Panther network of federal interns and alumni.  Stay tuned for more updates on our DC Panthers throughout the next few months.
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