Local Students, Colleges React To Loan Repayment Relief

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St. Lawrence University senior Maureen Pellerin is like many college students who worry about paying back the debt she has accumulated from student loans.

"Anything that can help me...is something that I would definitely be in support of," she said.

The Obama administration is backing an executive order that modifies the alternative payment program by capping monthly payments for federal student loans at 10 percent of a borrower's income.

"Any plan that minimizes student debt burden and helps manage repayment is a good thing for students," said Susan Merchant, SUNY Potsdam financial aid director.

By easing student loan debt, it can help make sure the loans are repaid and not ending up being defaulted on.

St. Lawrence University graduates have a federal student loan default rate of between 1 and 3 percent.

Under the Obama plan, students who took out federal loans before October 2007 or those who haven't borrowed since 2011 would be able to pay no more than 10 percent of their monthly income in student loan payments.

SLU Vice President for Financial Aid Jeff Rickey sees the Obama plan as worthwhile.

"The best incentive for the economy improving would be to just forgive that trillion dollars of debt, but of course, that's not practical," said Rickey.

Obama is also calling on Congress to pass more sweeping legislation that would let college graduates refinance their loans at lower interest rates.

Senate Democrats are pushing that bill, but it faces Republican opposition over how to pay for it.
 

Sunday, November 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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