Potential Student Loan Interest Increase Raises Fear On OU Campus

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“It felt like a punch in the stomach.”

Political science student Shannon Welch described her feelings when she heard student loan interest could double in the summer.

Like Welch, the fate of millions of students on student loans is uncertain after senate Republicans voted Tuesday to block a democratic proposal to keep student loan interest low by taxing rich people.

The current 3.4 percent interest rate of subsidized Stafford loans will double if no agreement is reached by July 1.

Both parties say they want to keep the interest low, but they disagree over how to do so.

To achieve the goal, Republicans suggest eliminating a public health fund in Obama’s new healthcare law.

Reacting to the vote, several members of Ohio University College Democrats held a press conference on College Green yesterday to express their concerns.

Junior student Nicole Robertson said she will have more than $30,000 in student loan debt to pay after she graduates, and her family will bear the burden if the interest increases because they want to help her to pay the extra money.

“It’s really shameful. Clearly they are just playing by politics, they are not playing in the interest of students,” Robertson said.

According to a report released in March by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, student loan debt exceeds $800 million surpassing auto loans and credit card debt.

Ryan Dilworth, president of Ohio University College Republicans, said nobody wants to see student loan interest increase, but Democrats should separate the two issues of maintaining low interest and taxing higher-income people.

“They [Democrats] shouldn’t be going after other people and ask them to pay for us,” Dilworth said.