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IPIRG, students decry loan interest rate hikes

Thu, 03 May 2012 14:19:33 CDT
By: Willis Kern

IPIRG, students decry loan interest rate hikes An Illinois government watchdog group is urging Congress to keep college student loan rates from doubling this summer. A low rate of 3.4% implemented five years ago will automatically go to 6.8% July 1 unless lawmakers intervene. Celeste Meiffren with the Illinois Public Interest Research Group says college students in Illinois will save millions if Congress acts.


Meiffren says more than 356,000 college students in Illinois will be impacted by the new rates. She says 62% of college graduates in the state carry some student loan debt with an average of nearly $24,000 in loans per borrower. Katie Pantell , a freshman at Loyola University in Chicago, says she has her sights set on joining the Peace Corps or other service organization after college. But she says interest rates doubling to 6.8% this summer may put a hold on those plans.


Both Democrats and Republicans say they oppose the new interest rate going in effect, but proposals so far have proven controversial because of suggested funding sources and other issues.


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