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Ashley Hoeck, Fargo, Published May 11 2012

Another potential student burden

I am a student at Minnesota State University Moorhead and a senator in the MSUM student senate. I also am a campus coordinator for the Minnesota State University Student Association.

The students I serve are working hard to complete their education. Students have jobs and apply for grants, but most must borrow to finance their college degrees.

In Minnesota, state appropriations and federal aid have not kept pace with the rising cost of college. As a result, more students than ever rely on student loans. The Project on Student Debt shows the average borrower at MSUM graduates with more than $29,000 in student loan debt. Now, in the midst of more borrowing and higher and higher tuition, on July 1, the federal student loan interest rate will double, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent for the estimated 300,000 Minnesota students who will take out federal loans after July 1.

If Congress does not take action, the average subsidized Stafford loan borrower will have $2,800 in increased student loan debt over a 10-year repayment term.

We support efforts to keep student loan interest rates from doubling. President Barack Obama has proposed a one-year freeze on interest rates in his budget request to Congress. This is a step in the right direction. We cannot afford to balance the budget on the backs of students.