Photo: Indiana Public Media News
Federal college loan rates could double this summer, and one research group says if that happens it will cost Hoosier students as much as $270 million.
Congress is currently debating whether to extend low student loan interest rates for another year while a long-term rate is negotiated. A study by the Indiana Public Interest Research Group shows that, by keeping the rate at 3.4 percent for just another year, each student would save more than $900 in loan debt for each year they are in school.
Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers says keeping interest rates low, particularly while the economy is still recovering, is essential.
“All of the factors that impact the cost of college are critically important and linked to whether a student completes,” she says.
Lubbers says completing college with either a degree or certificate is critical to a student’s success after graduation. Research Group federal legislative director Gary Kalman says increasing college completion rates is vital in the next several year.
“By 2020, 58 percent of the jobs in the state will require a certificate or college degree,” Kalman says. “Currently, we have about 36 percent of the population has a degree so we’re running short.”
A vote in the U.S. Senate on the interest rates could come as early as Tuesday.