Nightly News   |  June 28, 2013

Student loan rates to double on Monday

Interest rates on federal student loans are set to jump to 6.8 percent on Monday, July 1, now that Congress has gone home for the holiday without taking action. NBC’s Rehema Ellis reports.

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>>> tonight, members of congress headed out of washington on a week-long break, leaving monday's deadline on student loans to come and go, without any action. that means millions of student will start paying double, regardless of what lawmakers eventually do, the price of college has left a lot of families deep in debt. our report tonight from rehelm a ellis.

>> reporter: in washington, students blasted lawmakers for failing to act, ensuring student loans will double to 6.8% on monday. that hike affects the estimated 7 million students expected to take out new, federally subsidized stafford lone loans this year.

>> we'll cover college costs and funding options.

>> reporter: at this college planning workshop in chicago, this family is searching for ways to pay.

>> it will be a strain, no question about it .

>> reporter: they are struggling through the loan application.

>> we'll avoid as much as possible going into personal debt to finance a college education , but on the other hand, we don't want our daughter to be in such deep debt.

>> reporter: experts say federal loans are attractive, because they are cheaper than private loans, 3$3.5 billion in private scholarships are also available. but the question is, how do you find them? experts say, pick a college you can afford, one that will give you money. look into community or local business scholarships. perhaps where your parents work. base your search on the student's strengths and interests. whether it's academic, the arts, technology, or sports.

>> there are many families who would qualify for financial aid who are not applying. that's the first obstacle.

>> reporter: once in college, experts say set a no-frills budget.

>> live like a student when you are in school so you don't have to live like a student after you graduate.

>> reporter: managing the costs of college to maximize the value of a degree. rehema ellis, nbc news.