Progress 2050 and Leadership Institute intern Kevin Felisme participated recently in Campus Progress’ Student Debt Day as part of a group of college students who lobbied members of Congress on the issue of federal student loan interest rates and the Stafford loan program. Their main concern was that if Congress failed to take action by July 1, the 3.4 percent interest rates for subsidized Stafford loans would double to 6.8 percent.
Because of his participation in Student Debt Day, Felisme was invited to the White House, where he met with President Barack Obama and heard the president’s speechthat addressed student loan interest rate hikes. In his speech the president urged Congress to act quickly and to extend the 3.4 percent interest rates so that 7.5 million students wouldn’t risk having their loan rates double.
On July 6 President Obama signed the legislation to extend interest rates for these loans and thanked students across the country for speaking out and rallying behind the cause. Felisme was featured in a video on the White House Blog in which he and fellow students discussed why their voices mattered in this debate over student loans.
Felisme is a rising junior at American University where he studies justice and law and serves as the public relations officer of the Caribbean Circle. He is originally from Manchester, New Hampshire, where he spent his last summer as a camp counselor for at-risk youth. Previously, he interned at the VERA Institute of Justice, a think tank in Washington, D.C. His father was born and raised in Haiti, and Felisme looks forward to visiting Haiti every year with his father.This article was originally published in Center for American Progress.