Utah State University students speak out on student loan interest rate increase

Frischknecht (left) stands at the podium after a press conference

Daryn Frischknecht, a senior studying marketing at Utah State University, will not be directly affected by the increase in student loan interest rates, but she knows new students will suffer.

“I think a lot of people are confused. It’s not if you already have a loan that your rates will be doubled,” Frischknecht explained. “This is going to affect new students who apply for loans.”

As of July 1, interest rates on many federal student loans doubled. For the past two years, the rate has been 3.4 percent. It is now at 6.8 percent and will impact students come August who return to school and take out a loan.

While not a political science major, Frischknecht is still passionate about politics. She is currently an intern for Congressman Stewart of Utah’s Second District, so she has been in Washington D.C. to see firsthand how the government is reacting to the increase in student loan interest rates.

Last Monday, Frischknecht stood behind House Speaker John Boehner alongside hundreds of other students at a press conference.

“They need to figure something out for the students because we are going to be the next leaders. We do deserve an education,” said Frischknecht. She also explained it’s difficult because the House and the Senate are controlled by different parties.

“The House is controlled by Republicans and the Senate is controlled by Democrats,” she said. “So that’s why it’s been hard to find a solution that will make both parties happy.”

USU Student Body President and President of the Utah Student Association Douglas Fiefia is disappointed that opposing parties could not make a compromise.

”It seems like it’s become a Democrat and Republican thing. The Democrats think that their plan is better for student loan interest rates and so do the Republicans,” Fiefia said. “Instead of coming together in order to decrease it, it’s been doubled. Because it’s hard for politicians to drop their agenda, students are the ones who will carry the weight.”

Fiefia recently returned from Washington D.C. where he met with 130 other student body presidents about this issue.

“It was nice to see different perspectives, but also just to see that a lot of the students around the country have the same issues and problems with student loan interest rates that we have here in Utah,” he said.

“We know it will be a hardship for students when they go into repayment,” said USU Director of Financial Aid Patti Kohler, “But as of right now, we don’t really have a feeling for if it’s going to deter any of our students from taking the loans.”

For the 2011/2012 year, 10,704 students at USU took out a loan.   

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