Give Now

State Higher Ed Commissioner Talks Student Loan Increase

StateImpact Indiana’s Kyle Stokes speaks to the associate commissioner of the Commission for Higher Education on the potential student loan rate increase.

student on computer

Photo: Tulane Publications (flickr)

A student works on a computer at the Tulane University Commons.

Indiana college students graduate with an average of $27,000 in student loan debt — a $10,000 increase over the past decade.

President Obama and Congressional leaders are seeking a legislative compromise to ensure students do not owe even more in interest on their federal student loans. If they do not reach an agreement, student loan interest rates would automatically double to 6.8 percent on July 1.

StateImpact Indiana’s Kyle Stokes spoke to Mary Jane Michalak, associate commissioner of the state’s Commission for Higher Education, on the potential rate increase’s impact on Indiana students.

 

Here are some highlights from the interview:

Stokes: How would a rate increase impact what the Commission for Higher Education is doing?

Michalak: The Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the Division of Student Financial Aid oversees the state scholarship and grant programs, so whatever we provide in scholarship and grants, the student does not have to take out in debt. So our programs work in conjunction with student loans and institutional financial aid.

If students are going to have to take out debt and are going to have to pay higher interest rates, the way it affects our programs is not directly, but students may decide not to go to college at all because the amount of financial aid they receive from the state or the federal government may not be enough to cover all of their needs.

Stokes: The Indiana Commission has set some pretty ambitious goals for college completion. It would seem that student debt is tied to that.

Michalak: It is absolutely. In fact, what we’re pushing for now is more completion across the state. The commission’s goal is to get 60 percent of adults to complete college and have some type of certification by 2025…Now what we’re looking at is a fifth year of college will cost a student about $50,000 more in lost wages, additional tuition and fees.

Our state financial aid programs are only for four years, so  students who don’t complete in four years are automatically going to take on more debt than their counterparts who do complete in four years.

Kyle Stokes

Kyle Stokes joined WFIU/WTIU in 2011 as an education reporter and blogger for StateImpact Indiana, a collaborative reporting venture between WFIU and NPR News. He comes to Bloomington from Columbia, Mo., where he was a producer and reporter for NPR member station KBIA-FM and NBC affiliate KOMU-TV. Originally from Minneapolis, Minn., Stokes is a proud graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and an even prouder Minnesota Twins fan.

View all posts by this author »

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search News

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media News:

Recent Stories

Recent Videos

Find Us on Facebook