No vote in Congress could cost college students - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

No vote in Congress could cost college students

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Ivy Tech student Lauren Martin says she can only afford to go to school part-time because of loan rates. Ivy Tech student Lauren Martin says she can only afford to go to school part-time because of loan rates.
INDIANAPOLIS -

Sticker shock could be coming for college students as thousands are possibly faced with paying more on student loans in just weeks.

Hikes in student loan interest rates are behind the increased costs.

The rates are decided by Congress. Both parties have said they want to dodge the increase, but neither party's budget proposal in Congress has money set aside to keep student loans at their current rate.

"I work 39-40 hours a week," said Ivy Tech college student Lauren Martin.

It's time to make the coffee for 24-year-old Martin as she heads into her job at Starbucks.

"Sometimes I think I'm going to be 40 by the time that I graduate," Martin lamented.

Martin can only afford school part-time, but has already racked up $12,000 in student loans.

"I definitely expect to be paying off my student loans for my entire life, I think most people do," she said.

If Martin takes out more loans to finish, it could cost her more to pay back. The rates on subsidized Stafford loans will rise from 3.4% to 6.8%.

That hike could cost students an extra $5,000 on their new loans.

"I'm unhappy with it. I think a lot of people are," said Martin.

Lawmakers dodged the rate increase last year in the middle of a presidential election. Now, though, when the White House isn't at stake, student loan professionals are saying there's no hurry to stop the rate hikes.

They're telling students like Martin to count on higher rates.

"I think students shouldn't worry about this. If you're in school, this has no impact on you at the moment," said UIndy economics professor Matt Will.

Will said 6.8 percent used to be and is still the norm for others who took out loans before rates went down in 2007.

"The loan rates went down starting in 2007. They were this high for many years. It's only recently that they've been decreased and even then it only applies to people who have graduated," said Will.

"Money has decreased significantly in value over the past couple of decades, so comparing it, there would need to be a lot more math involved to see how your 6.8 compared to the 6.8 of what classes cost now," argued Martin.

Increase or not, though, higher education is still a worth investment for Martin.

"I still need to go to college," she said.

The deadline to do something about the rate hikes is July 1.

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