As Congress politics, millions of students anticipate adding to already overwhelming debt loads after July 1st’s student loan interest rates hike. If inaction in Congress continues after its July 4th recess, Subsidized Stafford loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent interest, resulting in a $2,600 accrued interest rate increase for each loan, according to Congress’ Joint Economic Committee. The increased rates are to affect 7 million students expected to receive loans this year.
Students unable to pay out-of-pocket for ever-increasing tuition costs are dependent on low-interest Subsidized Stafford loans to materialize their dreams of earning an advanced degree. Increased interest rates may deter prospective students from pursuing higher education and will bury recipients deeper in debt.
Writing in a USA Today op-ed, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., suggested student loans should mirror the 0.75 percent interest rate big banks receive. The measure will alleviate student loan debt while offsetting the $51 billion in profit the federal government received from 2013’s student loan programs, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Congressional Republicans agree in principle to lower interest rates but prefer the market to dictate fluctuations in student loan interest rates. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Republican measure will save $3.7 billion over 10 years. Democrats, however, are wary of handing the reins to student loan interest rates over to the market, believing it will inevitably lead to increases.
Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., agrees that during a period of economic instability, in which students and young professionals often weather the worst of the economic tempest, student loan interest rates should remain low. “As our economy continues to recover, the seven million students who rely on these loans to finance their education shouldn’t face higher debt as they graduate, start a career or buy a house at a time when interest rates are at historic lows,” the Congresswoman opined in a recent U.S. News piece.
The effects of mountainous student-loan debts are already crushing many millennials’ prospects of entering into traditional American adulthood.
Men and women in the “20-and-30-something” demographic must delay beginning families, buying real estate and investing as the average student debt has increased upward to $27,547 in 2011. Continued rises in college tuition and a still stale job market has fostered an uncertain economic environment for young adults in pursuit of the white-picket fence promised by their forefathers.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s June Monthly Labor Review report, outstanding student loan debt has reached a $1.1 trillion problem. From 2007 to 2012, student loan borrowers increased 31 percent. Exacerbating the issue, unemployment for recent college graduates has increased from 7.7 percent in 2007 to 13.3 percent in 2012. The report categorizes college graduates as men and women, 20-to-29-years old who have earned a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree. As a result, the percentage of men and women ages 25 to 34 who’ve returned to the safety of the parental nest has also increased. Men reported to be living with their parents increased from 13.5 percent in 2005 to 16.9 percent in 2012, while women increased from 8.1 percent in 2005 to 10.4 percent in 2012.
The National Association of Realtor’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun compounds the issue as college graduates being unable to save whilst paying significant monthly amounts in student loans. Mortgage underwriters factor student-loan payments during the qualification determination process. The larger the student loan, the less likely you will qualify, Yun said. As the adverse effects of student loan debt impedes on new homeownership, starting families and investing; its parasitic effects may sprawl into other areas of the economy.