LAS VEGAS - An effort to restore new student loan rates to 3.4 percent failed in the U.S. Senate last week, which means college students will pay an interest rate of 6.8 percent for the foreseeable future.
Frustrated students say they are fed up with increasing student loan rates. Some say they are considering taking fewer classes and pushing back graduation dates to save money.
The bill to keep rates low failed 51-49, meaning college students will pay the higher rate on their loans unless Congress agrees on another bill. Lawmakers are negotiating another proposal.
With the cost of books, food and housing already affecting many college students, some say the hike in interest rates leaves them no choice but to make drastic decisions about their college plans.
"It's not always a promising economy after graduation, and you don't know if you can find a stable job," said UNLV student Tracy Hill. "It's tough nowadays. It's a lot of weight and stress going to school, and working and trying to pay off loans in the back of your mind."
"I know people who have had to postpone their graduation a semester or even a year, ‘cause they couldn't get into the right classes," added UNLV student Lauren Erickson. "It's frustrating ‘cause I'm on student loans, and it's frustrating ‘cause I'll be paying for school through student loans for the next three or so years, plus going to grad school and being an out-of-state student. It's already expensive, and tuition has been going up. It's unfair that rates are going up, and it makes it harder for us."
Many out-of-state students say they are considering moving back to their home state to finish school. The move would save them money by allowing them to pay in-state tuition.
If you are a student who is looking for ways to reduce your expenses, financial advisors say you have options. Many colleges, like UNLV, regularly offer scholarships and grants throughout the year in academics and sports.
"There are always scholarships opportunities, work opportunities on campus. They can find a job at the library or wellness center," said UNLV Director of Financial Aid Norm Bedford.
According to the nonprofit The College Board, education loans in the U.S. doubled from $55.7 billion in 2001-2002 to $113.4 billion in 2011-2012.
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