Students Outraged Over Prospect of Higher Interest Rates

LAS VEGAS - Student loan debt in the U.S. has surpassed a trillion dollars. That's more than Americans owe on credit cards. If Congress doesn't act soon, that debt will grow deeper.

Student loan interest rates are set to double July 1. The possibility of higher rates, along with the consistently rising cost of tuition, have Nevada students outraged.

"If you look at how many of us are taking out loans, you'll realize we can't even afford to pay for college in the first place," said UNLV sophomore Carmella Gadsen. "How are we going to be able to pay for them after we leave? I'm trying to become a doctor. Do you know how much it costs to become a doctor? And you're going to double the price of a student loan and then the interest? It's just outrageous."

Gadsen is furious Congress would even consider letting interest rates double from 3.4% to 6.8%. Like many students, Gadsen relies on student loans. She would be one of many affected if politicians do not devise a way to prevent current interest rates from expiring this summer.

UNLV student Lino Ramos is about to end his freshman year. He says every month has been a struggle. Ramos says after paying for the basics and bills, there isn't lot of money left. He can't imagine what higher interest rates and tuition would mean for his sophomore year.

"I barely know enough, but I don't agree with it all. It's really a pain that we got to pay it back, and the interest is so high," he said. "If they're going to double it, they're just going to make it worse and harder for us in the future."

House Republicans plan to schedule a vote Friday on a bill that would prevent the rates from doubling. Democratic leaders oppose the measure, because it would be paid for by making cuts to programs in the new health care law.

Democrats have unveiled their own bill in the U.S. Senate. That bill would be paid for by forcing high-earning owners of some privately owned corporations to pay more Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes.


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