I will graduate with $100,000 in loans
Kelly Mears has a lot at stake in the debate over government-subsidized student loan interest rates.
June 24th, 2013
05:00 AM ET

I will graduate with $100,000 in loans

By Jennifer Liberto, CNNMoney

Washington (CNNMoney) - When Kelly Mears graduates from Union College in the summer of 2015, she will have $100,000 in student loans.

Armed with a political science degree, Mears will join more than a million Americans who have racked up breathtaking amounts of student debt.

Mears is also one of 7 million undergraduates caught in the middle of a debate in Washington over government-subsidized student loans, as interest rates are set to double to 6.8% from 3.4% on July 1.

"It just seems to be a part of the growing American experience to go to school, graduate and work off that debt for the rest of your life," Mears said.

Super-borrowers with $100,000 of student loan debt aren't the norm. The average student graduates with $27,000 of loan debt.

The New York Fed said those who borrow $100,000 or more are about 3.1% of borrowers nationwide. But it's easy to see how students get there, with four years of private college tuition running $116,000 on average, according to the College Board.

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Obama pushes to keep low student loan rates
"We have to educate our way to a better economy," education secretary Arne Duncan said Friday.
April 20th, 2012
04:53 PM ET

Obama pushes to keep low student loan rates

By Jennifer Liberto, CNNMoney

WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) - President Obama will use his bully pulpit to urge lawmakers to prevent a doubling of interest rates on federally subsidized student loans.

On July 1, the interest rate on federal subsidized loans will go from 3.4% to 6.8%. That means students taking out loans for the next school year will have to dig deeper in their pockets to pay them off.

"If we want to keep jobs in our country, we have to have an educated work force," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Friday. "We have to educate our way to a better economy."

More than 7 million undergraduates have subsidized student loans, which means the federal government absorbs some of the interest rate for lower- and middle-income families based on financial need.

If Congress does nothing, the cost to students borrowing the maximum $23,000 in subsidized loans is an extra $5,000 over a 10-year repayment period.

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