Sen. Kaine to Speak on Efforts to Stop Student Loan Increases

By: Brendan Ponton Email
By: Brendan Ponton Email

HARRISONBURG-- Sen. Time Kaine is addressing his efforts to prevent some student loan interest rates from increasing. He will be joined by administrators and students in Richmond on Monday afternoon.

If Congress can't come to a compromise, the interest rates on undergraduate subsidized Stafford loans would double on July 1 from 3.4% to 6.8%.

The increase would only impact new student loans, so borrowers with existing loans would not be affected.

Brad Barnett from JMU's financial aid office said if a student took out a $5,500 loan, he or she would pay back $1,100 less under the current rate than if it doubled.

Monday is the first day of orientation for JMU freshmen. They are the ones who could be impacted if the rate did increase. Barnett said loans should be the last option in figuring out how to pay for college.

"It sounds kind of cliched, but you really need to look at your budget and what you can realistically afford. We want you to pay for as much as you possibly can without going into loans. Is that grants? Is that scholarships? Is that the university payment plan?" he said.

Congress still has a week to find a compromise. This was debated last year, and Congress decided to extend the lower rate.

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