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Parents at A&M Shocked By High Student Loan Rates

By: Stephanie Ando Email
By: Stephanie Ando Email

TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY Parents at freshman orientation at Texas A&M are proud to call their kids Aggies.

"We're so excited to be part of the A&M family!" said Rhonda Miller.

However, it's what comes after graduation that some parents are worried about.

"If they don't get tons of scholarships, then they have to take out loans. So they already start off with a negative, having to work hard to pay off that amount," said Jarri Russell.

Now, paying off student debt will be even harder. Congress allowed low interest rates to expire on July 1st, causing rates to double from 3.4% to 6.8%.

A year at Texas A&M costs about $20,000.

According to FinAid.org:
- Paying for four years of school at the 3.4% rate would cost $102,237.14, over the course of 15 years.
- Taking out four years of loans at the 6.8% rate would cost $127,826.11, over the course of 15 years.

"I find that very sad," said Miller. "When I got out [of college] we had loans, but they weren't that big. They were manageable, but that's not the case now. The cost of college is much higher."

Jarri Russell has two kids who will need loans in the fall. She says Congress needs to get back to work, and find a way to lock in lower rates.

"I think it was shock," said Russell. "Yes, we should have known it was going to happen, but it hasn't happened all these years."

Senate Democrats proposed a one year extension of the 3.4% rate, but it failed after a vote Wednesday.

House Republicans are pushing for a permanent fix.

"The Federal Government should not be in the student loan business. What the House has said is let's let the rates become market driven rates," said Representative Bill Flores, during an interview on Brazos Valley This Morning.

Rhonda Miller has twins starting at A&M in the fall.

"We are very fortunate that we planned ahead, so that neither one would have to have student loans as they go through their undergraduate program," said Miller.

Miller and her kids are avoiding an issue that is expected to affect more than seven million students this year.

Congress is set to go on August recess in a few weeks, so the Senate will have to take action before the end of July to avoid higher interest rates for students taking out loans in the fall.


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