This week, President Obama is expected to sign into law a much-anticipated bill lowering student loan interest rates. On July 1, 2013, interest rates on newly disbursed subsidized Stafford loans doubled from 3.4% to 6.8% as Congress did nothing to prevent the increase. Before the congressional fix passed in late July by both the Senate and the House, students across the country protested and lobbied their congressional representatives insisting that action be taken.
Undergraduate student Alan Stanbird led a protest of seven students on the campus of Granite Point University.
“These congresspeople don’t know any
thing about how much college costs these days and how much interest students today are paying on student loans,” said Stanbird.
When asked how much extra interest he would pay with the new interest rate Stanbird answered, “Well, I’m a theater major and not real good at math so I’m not sure but since the rate is doubled I’m guessing it’s like five times as much or something.”
Another student added that the only tenured faculty member in the math department was taking a sabbatical year in Las Vegas but could probably help them calculate the interest when he returned to campus next spring.
Longtime Utah State University Director of Financial Aid Rod Delamey downplayed the concerns of students.
“We just don’t feel like this change will impact our students much,” said Delamey. “The fact of the matter is that we can’t even get these kids to stop calling their loans ‘unstubstidized’ or ‘Stanford loans’ let alone get them to understand the concept of how interest is calculated. At Utah State, we’ve partnered with our international students to see if they can explain how interest on student loans works. Those kids are much better at explaining American politics and math than our regular students.”