College students could soon be on the losing end of a battle in Washington. In just two months interest rates on student loans go up unless congress acts soon to lock in the current 3.4 percent rates they'll double.
Mallory Bramlage is a junior business administration student at the University of Northwestern Ohio. When she graduates she'll be one of lucky few who won't have student loans to repay, but working in financial aid office she knows all too well the burden many of her classmates will soon face.
"I don't think a lot of students really understand the amount of loans they're taking out, what they're really doing to themselves and their future," Bramlage said.
The average college student owes $47,000 in student loans after graduation. About 75 percent of UNOH students use loans to get through college.
"Our program costs allow our students to borrow a lot less than what the national average is. It's probably in the 20's," Wendell Schick, Director of Financial Aid at UNOH, said.
Those using Stafford loans, the most widely-used federal loan program pay 3.4 percent interest on their loans, but if congress doesn't act within the next two months, future students using Stafford loans will pay 6.8 percent, that's about $1,000 per student.
Both of Ohio's senators support keeping rates low. Both say it's going to take bipartisan support.
"Unfortunately some tea party members in the House of Representatives want to stop it and just let it go up to six plus percent and I don't want that to happen," Republican Senator Rob Portman, said.
Senator Rob Portman says tapping into President Obama's healthcare bill is the best way to keep interest rates down.
"I think there are ways to pay for it by going into the healthcare bill by pulling out some of those expenses," Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, said.
Students like Molly Bramlage don't care about the politics behind it; she just wants to make sure the interest rates stay low, keeping the burden off college grads.
"We don't need any more reasons for students to be discouraged to come to school so it would be amazing if we could hold off that interest rate increase, but we'll see how it goes," Bramlage said.
The House of Representatives votes Friday on that legislation preventing those interest rates from doubling this summer. If it fails, the 6.8 percent rate goes into effect July 1.