Student loan rates are low for now

Resident tuition increases over five years in Colorado universities

·      Colorado State University – 55.4 percent

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·      University of Colorado Boulder – 36 percent

·      Fort Lewis College – 68.7 percent

·      University of Northern Colorado – 38.6 percent

·      Metropolitan State University of Denver – 5.6 percent

Source: Colorado Commission on Higher Education, Tuition and Fees Report Fiscal year 2012-13

Brief Student loan history

·      1960s Federal government supports loan programs that slowly evolve.

·      1992-93 Variable interest rates are introduced and are determined from short-term U.S. Treasury bills. This makes interest rates able to change.

·      2003-03 A fixed interest rate is reintroduced keeping the interest rate at 6.8 percent.

·      2007-08 Congress approves measure that lowers the fixed rate to 3.4 percent for four years.

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·      2013 rates jump back to 6.8 percent, but then soon after are lowered to 3.86 percent after new legislation is introduced.

Source: New America Foundation

August 9, President Obama signed into law bipartisan legislation that lowers student loan rates. The new law cancels out July’s high rate of 6.8 percent that occurred after Congress was unable to produce legislation in time.

The new bill lowers loan rates to 3.86 percent for undergraduates and 5.41 percent for graduate students. However, these rates aren’t fixed and in the coming years could rise, capping out at 8.25 percent for undergraduates and 9.5 percent for graduate students.

The passage of the bill comes at a time when the reality of student loan debt in the nation has become all the more vivid.

A recent report from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) found that outstanding student loan debt is approaching $1.2 trillion as of May 2013. Additionally the report found 7 million borrowers are in default on a private or federal loan.

Nationally, the cost of tuition has been steadily rising for years. The National Center for Education Statistics data shows tuition has risen by 124 percent in the past 30 years. Tuition at CSU has more than doubled in the past five years, with things such as lessened state funding causing the university to raises its prices.