Student loan rates to rise

By: Meredith Taylor
By: Meredith Taylor

Seems like it costs money to do just about anything.

And in the college world, for lots of students, that means taking out student loans.

There's an important deadline coming up for borrowers that might mean having to pay more money.

Getting a college education adds up.

"Tuition, housing, car insurance, books...food, of course; that's a big one," says John Schmeelk, a junior at ASU.

"It's a lot," says ASU junior Shannon Broadwater. "It's rather expensive between room and board, tuition, books, transportation...it's just a lot."

Student loans serve as a quick paycheck to make ends meet.

"I only have two," Shannon says.

But interest rates are going up.

Rates for Stafford loans are rising 4.70% to 6.80%--about 2 percent.

"And that's why the big push is on to consolidate to lock in the previous interest rate," says Willene Holmes, the director of financial aid at ASU.

Holmes is encouraging consolidation now.

The deadline is Friday, June 30.

Borrowers who wait for July 1 won't get the lower rate variable rate; it'll be the fixed higher rate.

"And it's been a long time since we've really experienced an increase of this magnitude," Holmes says.

Two years ago, the rate was only 2.77%.

"And people might say, 'Well, that's only a couple of points', but when it comes time to repay the principal and interest, 2 percent points will make a difference in a loan payment," says Holmes.

Something many students know...but some, like Broadwater, still choose to wait.

We asked Broadwater if she would regret her decision. "Probably so, I don't know," she said. "That depends. I mean, if I get a good job, it'll be worth it."

The increase includes Federal Plus loans for parents as well.

If you do not consolidate before July 1, you'll get a higher, variable rate, about a quarter of a point less than the new fixed rate.


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