It’s no secret that the cost of a college education is expensive.
Just how expensive?
According to the College Board, an association comprised of more than 5,900 schools, colleges, universities and other educational organizations, tuition plus other expenses — room and board, books and other supplies — cost more than $22,000 at in-state public colleges for the 2012-13 academic year.
With such a hefty price tag, most students end up borrowing money to help pay for college. And when they wrap up their education, they often have a large chunk of debt in addition to any degrees they earned.
But now, the millions of college students who will borrow money from the federal government for the coming school year can plan on lower interest rates than originally offered.
On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a Senate plan that allows interest rates on student loans to move with the financial markets. As The Associated Press has reported, it offers lower rates for most students now but higher ones down the line if the economy improves as expected.
Undergraduates this fall would borrow at a 3.9 percent interest rate for subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Graduate students would have access to loans at 5.4 percent, and parents would borrow at 6.4 percent. The rates would be locked in for that year’s loan, but each year’s loan could be more expensive than the last. Rates would rise as the economy picks up and it becomes more expensive for the government to borrow money.
Interest rates would not top 8.25 percent for undergraduates. Graduate students would not pay rates higher than 9.5 percent, and parents’ rates would top out at 10.5 percent. Using Congressional Budget Office estimates, rates would not reach those limits in the next 10 years.
The new rates are retroactive to loans taken out since July 1 — the day interest costs for subsidized loans doubled to 6.8 percent.
The compromise that came together during the past month would be a good deal for all students through the 2015 academic year. After that, interest rates are expected to climb above where they were when students left campus in the spring, if congressional estimates prove correct.
As the AP reported, the White House and its allies said the new loan structure would offer lower rates to 11 million borrowers right away and save the average undergraduate $1,500 in interest charges.
In all, some 18 million loans will be covered by the legislation, totaling about $106 billion this fall.
U.S. Rep. John Kline, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, called the bill “a win for students and taxpayers.”
The bill was also hailed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who said the move will be good for college students.
“Education is a cornerstone of a strong middle class, and keeping student interest rates low is just part of our commitment to making a college education accessible to every single American willing to work for it,” Duncan said. “As we continue to work on ways to bring down the soaring costs of higher education, we must remember that all of us share a role in ensuring that college is affordable for students and families.”
College students have a lot on their plates — attending classes, studying for exams, maybe even juggling school and work and family life. The cost of their education is surely another worry, but being able to depend on lower interest rates if they need a loan should help ease some of the pressure.
It’s no secret that the cost of a college education is expensive.
If something seems too good to be true, then assume that it is
Scam. noun. A confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle.
This is a word that Marion Countians have heard a lot about in the past few years. And the problem appears to be one that is getting worse every day.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
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