Congress can’t agree so students have to pay

By Anthony Szudarski

I go into every semester of school much the same way: constantly worried about how I’m going to pay for my education.

As of this month, the interest rates on Subsidized Stafford Loans have doubled for college students from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Like with many students at NIU, the Stafford Loan greatly helps in paying for the high costs of my education.

Luckily for those of us who already took out this loan for the coming semester, we won’t be affected by the increase.

But if nothing is done before Congress breaks again in August we may all have to deal with it the following semester.

When I found out the interest rate on the loan was doubling, one of my first questions was simply, “Why?” The answer seems to be just as simple.

According to Jake Miller of CBS News, the interest rate on the Stafford Loan doubled because the “House and the Senate failed to reach an agreement….”

Sadly, this isn’t the first time the two have been unable to come to a decision and it certainly won’t be the last.

Now, I’m not going to go on a long rant about how I think it’s ridiculous the House and Senate couldn’t come to yet another agreement. But I am going to explain what the increased interest rate on the loan means for college students and why this is such an outrage.

According to Philip Elliott of the Huffington Post, with the increased rate we are expecting, the cost to students would amount to about $2,600.

I’m sure to some people that doesn’t seem like much, but if you’re like me and paying for school on your own, every penny counts. I’m not saying I don’t expect to graduate from NIU without some debt to pay back, but just like everyone else I would like that debt to be as minimal as possible.

Why should students be punished for the indecision of Washington politicians?

Many of the students who take out the Subsidized Stafford Loan come from middle-income or low-income families. They already have a difficult enough time affording the costs of getting an education. Increasing the interest rate of those student loans means students will be that much more in debt after they graduate college.

There have been a few proposed resolutions to this issue, such as allowing the interest rate to fluctuate with the economy, but many Democrats do not support this because it could allow interest rates to rise even higher than what they are now if or when the economy ever improves.

For those who are familiar with loans, having an adjustable rate can really be a pain.

On the other hand, the Democrats, according to Kevin Miller of the Portland Press Herald, want to extend the 3.4 percent rate for another year to give both sides more time to come to an agreement and develop a more stable plan.

As of right now all we can do is hope the House and Senate get their butts in gear before the August recess arrives.

I’ve always considered school debt a good debt, but I don’t want to be paying back loans for the rest of my life.