The Daily Gamecock

In our opinion: Students' education at risk due to Congress

Unless you are lucky enough to have hit the lottery or perhaps have wealthy relatives, it’s become difficult for many families to afford the rising costs of a college degree. And with a pending increase in the interest rate on some federal loans later this year, it’ll become even more difficult for students to pursue a higher education.

As of right now, interest rates on subsidized federal student loans stands at 3.4 percent, but that rate is set to double to 6.8 percent on July 1 for any future loans unless Congress takes action soon.
Now that our government can be seen as an even less reliable source of funding for our education, we worry this rate increase could drive our fellow students to private loans, which are regarded as something of a last resort method of paying for college.

And unfortunately, this increase couldn’t have come at a worse time. Coupled with the sequester, our fellow Gamecocks are preparing to lose a significant amount of federal funding. Because of this, students won’t be able to get federal grants or work-study money, and that could spell trouble for students who depend on them.

During these tough economic times, it’s disheartening our federal government hasn’t taken the steps to ensure access to higher education for all Americans. Federal student loans, along with federal financial aid, are important parts of ensuring that college remains affordable and accessible for the majority of Americans.

If Congress doesn’t act soon, the cost of an education here at USC — as well as universities across America — will become prohibitively and, frankly, unnecessarily expensive. As Gamecocks and as Americans, we need to send a strong message to our representatives in Washington, D.C., that inaction is unacceptable.


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