FIU in D.C.: Protecting Stafford loans, STEM initiatives, D.C. interns

Historic decisions by the Supreme Court may have been the backdrop, but FIU was present in full force in Washington, D.C., this week advocating to protect Stafford loans, moving the national dialogue on STEM forward, and saluting more than 50 Panthers interning in our nation’s capital this summer.

Stafford Loan Rate Increase Prevented

The bipartisan effort to forestall the Stafford loan rate was successful with Senate leadership agreeing to a deal that will keep the rate at 3.4 percent for another year. However, the $6 billion extension would be paid for by changing eligibility requirements that would prevent students from using loans beyond 150 percent of credits required for a degree, plus two additional measures related to pension programs. Although undergraduate Stafford loan rates are preserved, students pursuing advanced degrees will no longer qualify for the in-school interest subsidy on Stafford loans, as determined last year. This means they will have to start paying the interest on their loans while they are enrolled or let it build up, adding to their debt.To learn more about the impact of federal financial aid , visit FIU in D.C. Financial Advocacy Page.

FIU leading STEM transformation in Miami

President Mark Rosenberg and White House education advisors in the historic Secretary of the War offices in the Old Executive Office Building.

FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg visited with the White House Domestic Policy Council to present the early successes of the ACCESS partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) and to update President Barack Obama’s education advisors on the TEACH STEM Miami Commitment, which will catalyze the increase in STEM graduates and aim to recruit and train more than 200 STEM teachers for service in six struggling schools in Miami. Earlier, Rosenberg joined M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho at the Urban Serving University Coalition to review the ACCESS partnership, dual enrollment and collaborative efforts in STEM education, all of which are being lauded nationally. Carvalho himself commented, “Without FIU, reform doesn’t happen.” STEM reform faculty leader Laird Kramer also reported on success to date, including more than a 400 percent increase in retention among students of introductory physics courses. FIU is also the leader in South Florida in K-12 pathways to engineering, which has led to a 45 percent increase in engineering degrees at a time when national trends are downward. 

D.C. interns take to the Hill

FIU interns on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with President Mark Rosenberg and the Florida Congressional Delegation.

In what has become an annual tradition, Rosenberg and four members of our Congressional delegation welcomed FIU students interning in the capital during a breakfast at the historic Capitol building. Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Frederica Wilson and Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart and David Rivera were on hand and recognized the importance of internships in diversifying the federal workforce. There are currently 50 FIU students working in more than 35 organizations including federal offices, Capitol Hill and at various agencies. Later in the day, the president had a chance to visit FIU law student Harrison Wittels at the Old Executive Office Building where he is interning in the Office of the Vice President.

To view the entire list of students interning in D.C. this summer, click here.

Several other Panthers were advancing our cause, including the College of Business Administration’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), a grantee of the U.S. Department of Education, and Assistant Vice President for Engagement Cecile Houry, who represented the university at the sesquicentennial (150th) celebration of the Morrill Act. This act provided federally controlled land to states to develop the land into “land-grant” colleges, which ultimately led to the rise of public institutions such as FIU.

To follow legislative developments to check out photos from this week, follow us on Twitter @FIUdc 
or on the FIU Governmental Relations Facebook page.