By Daniel Montaño, Staff Reporter
While congress is locked in partisan battles regarding subsidized student loans, it is more important than ever to have a plan for paying back student loan debt, but most students do not understand their loans, much less have a definite plan on paying loans back, Corbin Cordova, former Business major said.
As of July 1 the annual interest rate of 3.4 percent doubled to 6.8 percent on all subsidized student loans because congress was deadlocked in debate over how to address subsidized student loan interest rates, according to insiderhighered.com.
Students have said they have mixed reactions regarding the interest rate hike and how they plan to pay back the extra interest.
Gabrielle Roberts is in the process of registering for classes and plans to begin attending CNM in the fall 2013 semester, she said.
Although she plans on taking out student loans she hasn’t come up with a plan on how she is going to pay them back because to her it’s more important to get her degree then it is to worry about paying back loans, Roberts said.
“I’m just starting so I’m not too worried about paying anything back yet. I’m sure that as the years go on and I see my loans accumulating, I’m going to start wondering how I’m going to pay back that interest. Right now the main concern is actually being able to go to school. Being able to afford going is the first step and I haven’t been able to conquer that quite yet,” Roberts said.
While some students may be more concerned about attending class, Monica Apodaca, Nursing major, used to work for a student loan service provider and said that her experience prepared her to enter school with a plan to pay back any student loans she might have needed to take out.
Apodaca said that she knew that student loan interest rates can fluctuate but that they wouldn’t go above 6.8 percent. Although the interest rate was lower at the time she took out her loans, Apodaca said she gave herself leeway when she took out the loans by planning to pay them back at the maximum interest rate.
“Everything I took out I figured based off of the 6.8 percent because I knew that the interests rates fluctuate, but I knew the highest they could go is 6.8,” Apodaca said.
It is important for students to know where their student loan money is coming from when developing a plan to pay back student loans because different loan servicers can provide different repayment options, Apodaca said.
“Contacting the servicer is the best thing to do. Financial aid knows repayment options but the loan servicer will actually be able to give them quotes and give them better options because they’re the ones actually servicing their loans,” Apodaca said.
If a student has taken out a loan but doesn’t know which loan servicer they have, they can find out by accessing the National Student Loan Data System, at http://www.nslds.ed.gov.
Corbin Cordova who currently attends UNM and is a former CNM Business major said that he knows how much student loan debt he has, but doesn’t have a definite plan on how to pay it back.
Cordova said that he is relying on finding a job through which he can pay back his loans after he graduates, but that he isn’t sure if he’ll be able to find work because of the difficult job market right now.
“It’s one of those things that I’m going to have to deal with eventually. One of the promises of school is to improve our future. That’s definitely one of the marketing campaigns for CNM in particular, to know your path know where you’re going and that the unwritten promise is that at the end of it you’ll be getting paid more. So you should be able to pay it off, right? Should being the operative word,” Cordova said.
While some student’s do not have a clear-cut plan on how to pay off their student loans, other students have said that they might have to default on their loans if they are not able to find a good job after school.
Dustin Zumwalt, Business major, said that he has taken out the maximum amount of student loans ever since he started attending CNM in order to feed and house his family and that he will not pay the loans back until he is able to do so comfortably.
“I mean, my family comes first. If it’s going to take food off of their table then I’m not going to pay it back. But if I end up doing good, being successful and it isn’t going to hurt me to pay it back, then I’ll pay it back,” Zumwalt said.
The STEM up program offered a financial literacy workshop in June, including information from both UNM and CNM’s Financial Aid departments, and plans on hosting another in the fall semester; E-mail’s will be sent to all students when a date is set. To reach CNM’s Financial Aid department call 224-3090, to view individual student loan information visit http://www.nslds.ed.gov.
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