Bustos Student Loans Roundtable Discussion

June  07, 2013

Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos wants to keep the cost of college loans from doubling next month. Friday she met with students and parents in the Quad Cities to talk about her bill, the Student Loan Relief Act. If approved it would keep Stafford Loan interest rates at their current 3.4%, otherwise they'll automatically go to 6.8% on July 1st.

Lori Frakes from Illinois City is a mother of five. Her youngest child is starting college in the fall, and she's concerned about the rising cost of higher education.

"As a parent," said Frakes, "I've always had my children take out the Stafford and the subsidized and unsubsidized loans, just so they have a vested interest, and mom's not paying the whole bill. And I just have a concern that what's going to happen with kids in the future? They won't be able to afford to go to school, because not all parents can afford to pay for their children's education nowadays."

Scott Hale from Peoria, a senior at Augustana College in Rock Island, says the current interest rate has allowed him to go to a good school for an affordable price. But if the rate doubles for his senior year, he'll definitely feel the effects.

"My pockets will be empty, I guess," said Hale. "I will be hurting. But I should be able to finish out this last year. But I'm more worried about my sister's coming here next year as a freshman, and that's going to be another significant burden on our family, because the Stafford loans and similar government loans is what has made a school like Augustana, with their good education, affordable for us."

Bustos says if the interest rate doubles, a student borrowing 23-thousand dollars could end up paying 11-thousand dollars more over the 20-year re-payment period for the loan.