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.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region
Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.
COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community
There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.
Putting a cost on safety issue has been culprit in 13 traffic deaths
Would you believe that an item costing just 57 cents — less than the price of a can of pop — is being cited as the culprit in 13 traffic deaths?
A simple 57-cent item.
That’s how much fixing the fatal ignition switches that General Motors installed in new automobiles would have cost, and 13 lives would probably have been saved.
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- Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives