Student loan rates could increase without intervention from Congress

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It’s a race against the clock in Washington, D.C. to keep student loan rates from doubling.

Eight million Americans have federal Stafford loans and raising the interest rates will cost each of them thousands of dollars.

This week college students delivered more than 130-thousand letters to the Capitol with the message, “Don’t double our debt”. They want lawmakers to pass a new bill, the Student Loan Affordability Act.

Without it, the interest rates on Stafford loans will double from 3.4% to 6.8%.

But the issue has turned into a political battle between Republicans and Democrats who don’t agree on how much it will cost to guarantee the lower rates. Republicans believe it is up to universities to make a college education more affordable.

But some college students say, lowering tuition won’t help people already in debt.

“Currently, I have 8-thousand dollars in Stafford loans, and I expect that to increase by another 15-thousand,” said Samantha Durdock. “Even though I am a sophomore, I am already worried about the debt I will have upon graduation and how this will affect my future.

If Congress does nothing, it will cost a borrower anywhere from 2-thousand to 11-thousand dollars more in interest, depending on how long they take to pay back.