Durbin: Student Loan Interest Must Stay at 3.4%

The U.S. Senate failed to pass two bills that would have stopped a possible increase in student loans for those attending college across the nation.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin held a press conference at his Springfield Office on Friday to discuss the Senate’s plans to keep student loan interest rates at their current 3.4% level. Without action from Congress, loan interest rates will double to 6.8% on July 1, which is when federal subsidized Stafford student loans increase.

Durbin gathered with college students from all over the state of Illinois to discuss plans. Tony Fiorentino is a law student at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He said, “(Students) are not having children when they otherwise would. They are not getting married when they otherwise would because they cannot afford a wedding or an engagement ring,” Fiorentio added, “They’re taking jobs they would never take.”

Fiorentino is a student that has already accumulated over $120,000 in debt from school. He says he has another year to go.

Durbin agreed with many of the opinions the students shared with him. He said that student loan debt is the number one growing debt in the U.S., surpassing even credit card debt. Durbin added that the federal government made $50 billion alone in 2012 off of loans.

It is unclear if anything will be able to get through Congress in time for the July 1 deadline.