Federal Students Loan Changes Could Save

By: Tiffany Teasley
By: Tiffany Teasley

Liliana Gutierrez just graduated from MSU, now she's headed to grad school with $25,000 in student loan debt.

"The longer I take the more the loans are sitting there accumulating interest and the more money I'm going to have to pay so it is very overwhelming," Gutierrez said.

But starting July 1 her demanding debt could diminish.

"The two big changes that are happening on July 1 -- Stafford loans of undergraduate students will change interest rates," said Val Meyers of the Michigan State Financial Aid Office.

Down from 6.0 percent to 5.6 -- there's also a new Income Based Repayment program for grads and undergrads capping monthly payments.

"So, if you're taking a job that perhaps doesn't pay as well, they can measure your income against your debt and you possibly could qualify for a lower payment," Meyers said.

Meyers also says your remaining debt is forgiven after 25 years.

"If you work in certain professions that are considered to be public service, after ten years the balance of the debt that hasn't been paid off can be forgiven,"

Gutierrez says the plan is a perfect fit.

"It's a good thing that that's taken into consideration and that we're not expected to pay large some when we don't have the income," Gutierrez said.

And for those repaying loans with variable rates disbursed between July 1998 and June 2006 -- they're dropping dramatically down to 2.48 for subsidized and unsubsidized loans and 3.28 percent for PLUS loans.

"So, if you have those loans and they have not been consolidated, then the interest is going to lower to that amount," Meyers said.

"Having lower interest rates would be a huge help," Gutierrez said.

For more information on the new rates and the Income Based Repayment Program visit: studentaid.ed.gov

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