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Federal Stafford Loan interest rate remains uncertain


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Last July, college students and their families closely followed government proceedings regarding the potential doubling of interest rates on Federal Stafford Loans. Although the situation was narrowly averted, leaders in Washington, D.C., were given one year to draft a longer-term solution to the problem. According to Inside Higher Ed, attention is once again turning to the nation's capital as action must be taken to avoid an increase in Stafford Loan interest rates.

Commenting on the current situation, President Obama said last week, "If this sounds like déjà vu all over again, that's because it is." The deadline for politicians to reach an agreement on the measure is July 1. If a compromise is not reached by this point, the interest rates on subsidized Stafford Loans will double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent, a move that could place college students under a substantially greater financial burden. Several of the suggestions on how this scenario could be avoided, such as proposals that interest rates be tied to overall market conditions in the private sector, have proven deeply unpopular with student advocacy organizations.

Although it remains to be seen whether the government will be able to avert the rate increase, the need to keep higher education costs down has never been greater. According to The New York Times, the average student debt per borrower increased by 56 percent between 2005 and 2012 to $25,000.

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