Student Loan Interest Rates Double

Back in 2007, the interest rate on subsidized loans was a whopping 6.8 percent. By 2011, congress had gradually cut the rate in half.

The goal was to make college more affordable.

It was .. until the law that lowered rates expired in 2012.

Congress agreed to extend them for another 12-months, but lawmakers have not come up with another plan - so those rates doubled overnight.

Some students say, that's enough to make them think twice about their college future.

Since 2003, the number of students taking out a college loan have tripled.

Gulf Coast State College Financial Aid Director Chris Westlake says, "Every year we have about, close to 2,000 students that take out student loans."

That's nearly one out of every four Gulf Coast State College students.

Some financial advisors believe students don't really know what they're getting into.

Edward Jones Financial Advisor Michael Calidonna says, "I'll tell you that a lot of students are just clueless about what it means to carry that loan. They're never done it before. The first financial decision a lot of people make is to get in student loan debt."

Now that student loan interest rates are doubling, the problem is even worse.

"You're going to have one of two options. Pay off more each month or pay it off longer, so you'll have a student loan for the next 30 years. It'll be like another mortgage."

Financial Advisor Vucicevic says, "I just don't know how a young person's gonna get an entry level job, pay twice as much interest for the education that they got and be able to sustain the economy."

Michael Leard will be a Junior at Gulf Coast this fall.

He says, "After I've almost got my associates degree, I'm planning on Transferring to Florida - University of Florida. So I was like, well this is going to get a lot more expensive."

But the soaring cost of college forced him to make some tough decisions.

"I said I was never going to do debt if I could help it. I mean I have my bright futures which pays a little bit, but uh I'm electing to go into the navy reserves to help pay for the rest of it."

The military is not an option for everyone. So what do experts say is the solution?

"Students before they borrow loans, they should only borrow what they need but also make sure they're informed about the interest rates and the repayment options."

The average college student carries about 26,500 dollars in student loan debt. Both financial advisors insisted families should start saving for college when their children are little.

The hike in interest rates will only apply to new loans taken out after today. Older ones will not be affected.


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