TYLER (KYTX) - Bad news could be on the horizon for students needing financial aid next year. If Congress doesn't act by Monday, July 1, interest rates on need-based student loans could double to 6.8%.
The hike would not apply to existing loans, but it's still expected to affect more than 7 million new college students.
"It is crazy. It'll probably be a little bit harder for the new freshman to maybe pay their way." says Sandra Martinez, a nursing student at UT Tyler.
She's using student loans to pay for college.
"It's good because you don't have to pay directly out of pocket, but I mean, when you have an actual life and you have to work for yourself in general, all that kind of adds up."
It's financial pressure millions of college students face after graduation.
"Tuition is already increasing, so the fact that they have to pay for more interest on top of the loans is kind of, not really good." says student Sean Sanchez.
He is locked in to his 3.4% interest rate, but he's worried about his younger brother. He could get hit with the 6.8% increase if Congress doesn't make a deal.
"It's going to be harder for him to start off after he graduates."
Donna Spann with Capstone College and Career Advising in Tyler says this is going to mean a lot more money for students already on a budget.
"If that were to go into effect, you're adding an additional $4-$5,000 to that loan debt over that 10 year repayment plan."
She says students need to prepare by getting educated and planning ahead.
"Get to know your financial aid officer and exhaust all your opportunities you have for scholarships."
The senator who chairs the education policy committee says after they finish tackling the immigration debate, they'll be able to more fully focus on student loans.
Critics say it's unlikely that'll happen in time.