As Congress threatens to allow Stafford Loan rates to double beginning in July, student body presidents from six Utah colleges and universities met at Salt Lake Community College on Friday, June 8.
The student body presidents drafted and signed a letter to Utah’s state representatives, Governor Herbert and President Barack Obama asking them to not increase the interest rates.
“I am struggling just to stay in school to finish an associates, [this increase] only makes it more of a struggle,” said Jason Koelliker, a SLCC student concerned about the rate increase of student loans.
The student interest rate increase affects only undergraduate subsidized loans applied for after July 1, 2012. About 67,000 students in Utah in the upcoming school year will see the increase. This would not affect loans currently issued. Interest rates were lowered to 3.4% in 2007 when the economy was weak and are set to expire and return to 6.8% unless congress works together to come up with a solution to pay for the extension.
“I am very aware about the student loan increase and I think it’s absolutely ridiculous,” wrote Justin Escarciga, Vice President of South Region at SLCC, in an email. “I can’t comprehend why President Obama said that everyone deserves a higher education and when it comes to supporting and funding it, it’s just nonexistent. But oh yeah, it’s fine to start worrying about student loans when it’s an election year. I’m very frustrated.”
SLCC’s Student Body President Aaron Starks encourages students to call their state representatives about the proposed rate increase and make their voices heard.
“Students shouldn’t have to pay the amount of money that we’re already paying for tuition, books, fees coupled with the Stafford loan interest rate being doubled,” said Starks. “We have a small window of opportunity to make our voice known to our state legislature and let them know that we don’t want to see the interest rate double on subsidized loans.”