Stress over student loan rates doubling

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)-- There's high anxiety on Connecticut college campuses again because Congress is again stalled and federal student loan rates could double by the end of the month.

If you're sensing deja vu, it's because Congress postponed this problem a year ago and still has not found a solution.

Enrollment is up over last year for the summer semester here at CCSU but the anxiety level among many students is also way up.

"I do value my education and I do want to complete my schooling here at CCSU but I don't know how I'm going to afford it," said Bobby Berriault.
By one estimate, 73,000 Connecticut college students are going to school with the help of federally subsidized 'Stafford Student Loans.'
And once again, if congress doesn't act the rate on those loans will double going from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1st.
Bobby Berriault of New Britain is one of the 73,000 students in the state that will be affected.

"I know that we have a financial crisis in this country and I don't think it's right for them to be putting the burden on college students like myself," said Berriault.
The loans only go to the most needy students. More than two thirds are from families with incomes under $50,000.
Like Liz Warren of Waterbury, she says that even at the current rates she'll have close to $40,000 in debt facing her when she graduates.

"So there'd just be a lot of added stress in the fact of; what if I can't find a job or what if I find a job and lose it?  How would I repay all that?" said Warren.

"If you want to solve the budget problems of this country you don't do it by increasing the financial burden on college students in this country, you do it by cutting spending in other areas and raising taxes," said Berriault.
Connecticut 2nd District Congressman Joe Courtney led the way a year ago in forging a compromise on this.
Tuesday, he spoke on the House floor pushing a plan to freeze the rates for another two years. There are at least three plans aimed at addressing this but it has to be done in the next 19 days.

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