Black College Students in Trouble With Student-Loan Interest Rates Set to Rise

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 Without a miracle intervention from Congress -- which is looking increasingly unlikely with each passing hour -- interest rates for student loans from the federal government will double as of July 1. This means that after today, a student seeking a loan will no longer enjoy a 3.4 percent interest rate; instead he will see his rate become 6.8 percent.

While student-loan debt has become a reality and a challenge for an entire generation of American students, with that debt nearing $1 trillion and surpassing credit card debt, black students are disproportionally affected. According to a 2010 report from the College Board, "high debt levels are more prevalent among black bachelor's degree recipients than among those from other racial/ethnic groups."

During a Q-and-A at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Saturday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) cited the student-loan interest-rate crisis as a priority issue and expressed cautious optimism that a bipartisan solution could be reached, but that is looking increasingly unlikely. While Democrats have proposed extending the 3.4 percent rate for another year, thus buying more time to develop a longer-term solution, Republicans favor instituting long-term solutions now. One of their proposals would tie interest rates to Treasury bonds, which would potentially result in higher interest rates for students in the future, a possibility that concerns Democrats.

This is not the first time that student-loan interest rates have faced a steep increase and become a hot-button political issue. Last year the president spent part of his campaign touring college campuses and encouraging students to pressure Congress to act to prevent interest rates from rising. The effort worked, resulting in the continuation of the lower rates that are now once more in danger of being increased. Rear more here.