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Some student loan rates doubling

Subsidized Stafford loan rates moving to 6.8%

SAN ANTONIO - Congress failed to reach an agreement regarding subsidized Stafford student loans before the July 4 recess, meaning rates on loans disbursed today and beyond will now double from 3.4% to 6.8%.

The rate is similar to the unsubsidized loans which have been at 6.8% since 2007.

According to Congress' Joint Economic Committee the average student will pay an additional $2,600 over the life of repayment.

"I think in the long run it sounds pretty scary but I think if you're on top of it you can cancel that out," said Selenne Perez, who's entering her second year at the University of the Incarnate Word.

"I don't like thinking about it too much because when you look at it it's thousands and thousands of dollars that you're going to have to pay back and it's kind of mind boggling how much it actually turns out to," added Chris Burnam, another UIW student.

Student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt in the U.S. Brooklyn Chandler Willy of Texas Financial Advisory, said current and future students need to consider future careers when looking at how much they'll have to pay for college.

"You need to have a realistic idea of what your degree is going to pay you when you get out of college," said Willy. "Don't go into something with a big school debt when your paycheck isn't going to be able to afford that."

"You kind of worry about that because you think about the future, having kids, trying to buy a house, that type of stuff," added Burnam. "It's pretty difficult because you're going to have to pay those back as well."

Willy said she often meets with retirees who still have student loan debt.

"Maybe they got laid off when the market crashed or when companies started letting people go a few years ago and they took on a second career, went back and tried to get a Master's degree or law degree or something to that effect," said Willy. "The key here is school debt doesn't go away. You can declare bankruptcy, you can pass away but that debt is still there it has to be paid by somebody."

Willy suggested using raises or bonuses to pay down loan principal to keep interest payments low in the long run. Congress may work on a bill after the recess to retroactively affect loans disbursed between July 1 and the date of the new bill. 

For a list of recent stories Charles Gonzalez has done, click here.


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