Nearly 7 million college students will start paying double on their student loan interest rates starting Monday.
Congress went on a week-long vacation without passing legislation to prevent an automatic rate hike that they previously deferred for a year.
“It’s just making it harder and harder and harder for people to be highly educated,” said Julia Miller, a UW Graduate Student.
Students currently in school or those about to apply for a loan will see rates go from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. As a result, Congress’ Join Economic Committee says the average student will pay $2,600 more.
A $23,000 subsidized Stafford Loan under the higher interest rate will be an extra $3,000 over 10 years.
Graduates with $85,000 or more in debt can expect to pay an extra $140 per month the next decade.
Miller says like most students, her finances are stretched thin as it is.
“Extremely tight, watching every single penny that I spend,” she said.
“I have a mortgage on my head now,” said Senteara Orwig, a UW student.
Economists say the country’s student loan debt has skyrocketed to nearly $1.2 trillion this year.
“We’re all going to have trouble. It might get to the point that if we can’t pay, then we’ll stop paying,” said Orwig.
“Luckily I was able to find employment over the summer,” said Miller.
With the fear of a degree digging students deeper in debt, Orwig thinks many may avoid getting one all together now.
“I think a lot of us will be angry, but a lot of us will just start planning ahead,” she said.
Washington State University students will get some relief thanks to the state budget deal. On Monday, its Board of Regents will hold a special meeting to discuss taking back a previously approved 2% tuition hike for next year.