Unless Congress takes quick action, which doesn’t seem likely, the student loan interest rate will double  from 3.4% to 6.8% come July 1st.

Higher Ed leaders and students across the Garden state are expressing real concern.

Dr. Barbara Gitenstein, the President of The College of New Jersey, says everyone agrees student loan indebtedness is a very serious issue – and there is a consensus that more must be done to ease this burden.

“If that is the case, allowing the rate increase to occur is moving in exactly the wrong direction…the effects of allowing this rate increase to take place should not be underestimated – it will be devastating -this is a critical issue, and failure to act will have lasting and detrimental consequences.”

Dr. Patricia Donohue, the President of Mercer County Community College agrees.

She says if the student loan interest rate doubles, it will really hurt most students, because “that’s a big chunk of money – it’s a basic building block for them – and it may mean whether there’s food on the table.”

Christina Kopka, a Junior at TCNJ, says “with the additional interest added onto these loans we’re simply adding a block onto the top of a tower that’s about to crumble…in the short run we’re simply not going to be able to afford to go to school …students are upset, students are concerned – but they’re at a little bit of a loss for how to go about changing it and what to do to prevent it from happening…I think it’s not only upsetting- and I think there’s a sense of anger, but I think there’s a very large sense of discouragement…it’s the sort of thing where – not necessarily what’s the point , but it’s very, very hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when the tunnel just keeps going.”