Valley students concerned as student loan rates set to double
Thousands of students could soon have to pay more for college, at least temporarily.Photo: Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Thousands of students could soon have to pay more for college, at least temporarily.
On Monday, interest rates on federal subsidized Stafford loans are set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
"I studied abroad for awhile and I had to take out some pretty hefty student loans," said University of Nevada Las Vegas junior Monica Mercer.
Mercer is concerned about student debt.
"I'm still paying them off and I'm going to be paying them off for quite a while now," said Mercer.
That could get even worse on July 1 when the interest rates double. Congress took a holiday break without reaching a deal to address the change.
"It puts a lot of pressure on me because now I don't just have to worry about my grades, I don't have about being a student, I have to worry about my financial needs are," said Mercer.
The increase could lead to roughly $4,500 in additional costs for students who take out the maximum loan amount of $23,000, according to a Congressional report from the Joint Economic Committee.
"It's going to be harder once you finish college looking for a job and trying to start your life," said UNLV student Stanley Mamachaly.
The increase is only expected to impact new Stafford loans and lawmakers could reverse it retroactively, but the uncertainty is concerning for students.
Democrats and Republicans are blaming each other and both sides have their own plans.
"We can't keep saddling young people with more, and more and more debt just as they're starting out in life," said President Obama.
Students who spoke with Action News feel caught in the middle.
"Congress, right now, has a lot on their plate and students aren't their main priority it seems," said Mercer.
Subsidized Stafford loans accounted for more than one-third of all student borrowing during the 2011-2012 school year, according to the report from the JEC.