Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Nearly 1 Million Latino College Students Could Be Affected by Student Loan Rate Increase

Many Latino students’ dreams of pursuing a higher education will be threatened if student loan interest rates double as scheduled on July 1– and White House officials are trying to put the word out about the potential impact on Hispanics.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, about 986,494 Hispanic borrowers would see their loan rates increase. Interest rates would double from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. In all, more than 7.4 million students with federal Stafford Loans could be affected. The Obama administration is calling on Congress to stop the increase.

The rate hike could be especially damaging for Latinos, who are more likely to come from low-income families and could be more likely to be deterred by higher costs. ”Hispanics have managed to make great strides in their number and share of young students in college and universities,” wrote Kristian Ramos, policy director at Immigration NDN, on The Huffington Post. “Doubling the interest rates on federally subsidized college loans could reverse this trend.”

According to a report by the Young Invincibles and the Center for American Progress, the increase could cost the average college student about $1,000 more pear year of school as tuition rates increase about 8 percent a year on average. According to a poll, about 92 percent of young Latinos support making college more affordable and increasing financial aid.

“The great recession and stagnating wages have already made it more difficult for young Americans and their families to afford the cost of higher education,” the report says. “At the same time, obtaining a credential beyond high school has become more important than ever in achieving financial security for individuals as well as keeping America competitive in an ever-expanding global economy.”