By: Forum staff reports, INFORUM

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said Tuesday that Congress must act soon to prevent the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans from doubling July 1 to 6.8 percent.

Klobuchar cited a new report from the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, a group she serves as vice chairwoman, that found the nation’s total student debt increased to just less than $1 trillion in the first three months of 2013 – a jump from $550 billion at the end of 2007.

According to the report, Minnesota college students who graduated in 2011 had the country’s third-highest average debt at $30,411. About 71 percent of students had debt from college.

North Dakota’s Class of 2011 graduated with an average of $27,994 of debt, and 83 percent of graduates took out loans – the highest percentage in the country.

Klobuchar said Minnesota has one of the country’s five lowest delinquency rates for student loans at just 9.8 percent, below the national 15.9 percent delinquency rate and lower than North Dakota’s rate of 10.4 percent.

“This report makes it clear that we need to take immediate action to block the rate hike,” she said.