The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on whether to debate a plan from the Democrats that would keep college loan interest rates on Stafford loans from doubling two months from now. The bill would be financed by raising payroll taxes on certain qualifying taxpayers that make a lot of money.
Meanwhile, Republicans have their own plan to keep the interest rate from doubling, to be financed by removing a preventive program from President Obama's health care reform plan.
As usual, both sides are at an impasse- and if they can't come to an agreement, the interest rate will double on July first.
That's why we're asking our political bloggers the following question this week: Should federal student loan interest rates be raised or lowered? Why? What do these rates mean for your child's college education? How do you anticipate paying for your child's education?
I can't help but think of a Moms Matter video about a mom named Chantal, whose family is essentially crippled by their student loan debt. Check it out:
Chantal's husband owes $90,000 in student loans. With interest, though, they owe $200,000. Their monthly student loan payment is the equivalent of a mortgage payment, and for that reason, their family of five is living paycheck to paycheck -- AND living with Chantal's in-laws.
To me, this is unacceptable. By all rights, Chantal's family should be doing fine and able to afford their own modest home. And Chantal is hardly alone. Nationwide, student loan debt now exceeds Americans' credit card debt. When student loan debt is responsible for crippling families, it's a BIG problem that affects all of us.
Expect Democrats and Republicans to come to an agreement before July first -- After all, no one wants interest rates to double.
And in the meantime, if you want to read more on the subject, the AP has a great "Student Loans 101" post that explains the issue in detail. I highly recommend that you check it out.
What do you think about the student loan debt issue? Are student loans affecting you or your family?