Many college students were relieved when Congress announced a continuation of low interest on federal loans. But the rate is temporary and there’s no interest free grace period post graduation. It’s all a part of the one trillion dollar student loan debt problem, impacting more than 36 million people.
College students with Stafford loans almost had to pay an extra thousand dollars post graduation, but Congress decided to let the current low interest rates on the federal loans continue. According to the Project on Student Debt, undergraduates already leave school more than $25,000 in debt, a number up 25% in the last ten years.
“We have an awful lot of kids who want to go to college and the economic crisis has made it very difficult for them,” said Congresswoman Judy Biggert.
With unemployment hovering just over eight percent, today’s college students aren’t guaranteed a job after graduation. But the bills are still due. For some young people, the job outlook is a top priority when choosing a major.
“It’s more about concern with, equally concerned with paying off student loans and the starting salary they could get in that field as much as would they be interested in that line of work,” said Madeline Wierzal, a Naperville resident.
“I actually plan on going straight to graduate school afterwards, so I’m pushing them off a little bit more, pretty much as long as I can,” said Patrick Weisberger, a student at North Central College.
For those struggling to keep up with the cost, there’s good news.
Though programs like Public Service Loan Forgiveness, some can eliminate their debt.
“You’re talking things like the military, law enforcement, any type of public service position,” said Marty Rossman, Director of Financial Aid at North Central College. “Any nonprofit organization that is tax exempt. So there’s different options available to students.”
There are also forgiveness plans for teachers, medical staff, and legal professionals. Most people will have to pay off their full loans, so for those looking into college, talk to the financial aid office to learn about all your options.
There are also ways to consolidate your loans which sometimes reduces the amount you have to pay.
To see if you qualify, visit studentloans.gov.
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