DECATUR, IL- In less than two months, the interest rate on federal student loans is set to double unless lawmakers step in and keep rates where they are at.
Senator Dick Durbin joined presidents at several area universities Thursday to call on Congress to act before the interest rate hike takes effect July 1.
The uncertainty over what will happen with loan rates has students who rely on those loans worried about the cost of getting a degree.
Kai Adams is a student majoring in communications at Millikin University. Adams says she has already taken out more than $50,000 in student loans to help pay for her education.
Adams graduates next semester and may have to borrow more money to finish, but getting that money could cost her even more if the rate hike goes through.
She says thinking about her loans brings her "a lot of anxiety" because of the current job market. Adams adds that she has friends who have graduated already but have not been able to find a job in their field.
The interest rate on federal Stafford Loans taken out on or after July 1 is set to go up from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent interest. But Senator Dick Durbin is trying to keep that from happening.
"We can't let that happen," Durbin said. "It adds to the debt burden of the student over $1000 over their lifetime."
Speaking at a news conference on Millikin's campus Thursday, Durbin called on Congress to come with an agreement to keep rates down.
The problem, says Durbin, is that lawmakers can not agree on how to make up the $6 billion the government would lose in interest.
Durbin says the House bill proposal is to reduce a health fund to make up the difference, but the Senate bill he is backing would increase taxes on the wealthy to make up the cost.
But students like Kai are just hoping there is a solution before it is too late.