Today’s Philadelphia Inquirer has an editorial calling on Congress to address the coming spike in student loan interest rates. Legislative inactivity will cause rates to spike from 3.4% to 6.8% per year beginning July 1. To see what that means to people with student loans let’s take a look at the numbers. According the Project on Student Debt, the average level of student loan debt for college graduates in 2011 was $26,600. This level of debt, paid over a 10 year term, @ 3.4% would require a monthly payment of $261.79 according to a loan calculator. The same loan @ 6.8% would require a monthly payment of $306.11 0r an increase of $44.32 per month. This number doesn’t seem particularly egregious, but when you factor this over the course of a ten year loan it means that graduates would pay an addition $5318.40.
The Inquirer notes that all of the existing plans for addressing the student loan rate spike are inadequate. According to the editorial
None of these plans recognizes the tremendous public benefit of an educated populace. People with postsecondary education are more likely to become self-sufficient, taxpaying members of the middle class. That contribution to the greater good and to democracy is worth something.
This is food for thought as Congress debates how to keep college affordable.