As Congress worked on a compromise this week on federal student-loan interest rates, students and college administrators in Washington state say loans are one of their many concerns about the cost of college.
The associate director of financial aid at Western Washington University said any changes in student loans would have the greatest impact on the neediest students. A bipartisan agreement among Senate leadership was reached Tuesday to prevent a doubling of interest rates. The House will still need to follow suit.
"Our most needy students borrow the annual maximum," said Jim DeWilde at Western, during a telephone conference called by U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens.
Doubling the interest rate from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on subsidized Stafford loans would have increased student payments by about $32 a month on loans totaling about $20,000.