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20120629 StudentLoanHikeCollege student leaders June 27 from the University of Texas at Brownsville, the University of Texas-Pan American and the University of Texas at San Antonio and Christine Lindstrom from the Texas Public Interest Research Group called on U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison to support a bipartisan bill to keep student loan interest rates low.

UTPA Student Financial Services Associate Director Jael Garcia said Latinos are the largest minority in Texas, at 9.5 million or 38 percent of the population.

“Ninety percent of the student body enrolled at UTPA is Latino,” she said.

Lindstrom of Texas PIRG said unemployment is high because jobs aren’t being filled due to a lack of qualified candidates.

“Keeping college affordable will keep the Texas economy on track,” she said.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan think tank, median household wealth among Latino households fell by 66 percent during the past several years, with over 59 percent reporting that someone in the household has been out of work just in the last year.

UTPA student body president Matthew Garcia said he thought a rate increase would make students try to stay in college, but not enable them to pay back their loans once graduating.

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