Congress is one step closer to a deal that would stop student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1.
Hoosier college students and financial aid offices are concerned federal lawmakers won't take action in time.
If Congress does not act, interest rates for federal subsidized Stafford loans will increase from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, RTV6's Kara Kenney reported.
"The clock is ticking on this," said Bobby Egan, a Purdue University junior who uses Stafford loans to pay for his college education. "Paying double the rate is just unacceptable right now."
Thirty percent of undergraduate students, or about 7.4 million students, receive subsidized Stafford loans, according to FinAid.org.
Currently, the average Indiana graduate carries $27,000 in student loan debt, but some fear that number could grow.
"I think it's ridiculous," said IUPUI senior Brittany Stewart, who also uses Stafford loans and is concerned about an interest rate hike. "It's just money on top of money piling up back to back."
Marvin Smith, director of student financial services for IUPUI, explained the rate increase would only impact new loans, not existing ones.
"Stafford loans are re-set every July 1, so borrowers who have already borrowed Stafford loans will not be affected by increases in the Stafford loan program," said Smith.
Smith indicated that even if the rates double, he does not think it will keep students from enrolling in college or applying for federal aid.
"I think people are going to be under the impression they can't get Stafford loans, and they might turn to private loan products, and I do think the Stafford loan program is still a great program, so that's the message I hope gets conveyed," said Smith.
The issue impacts thousands of Hoosiers.
Purdue University officials told RTV6 that in 2010-11, they had 10,964 subsidized Stafford loan borrowers on the West Lafayette campus alone.
Indiana University spokesperson Mark Land told RTV6 that during the same time frame, 36,912 IU students, including all campuses, had some sort of Stafford subsidized loan.
Ivy Tech had roughly 52,000 students receiving the loans during the same time frame.
If Congress can reach a deal, the interest rates would remain at 3.4 percent through June 30, 2013.
"I think this is something we really need to press hard on, Congress needs to act," said Egan. "I would urge our Indiana delegates to put aside the partisan politics and reach across the aisle and broker a deal, and provide some relief."
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