Student Loan Interest Rates To Be Slashed

Interest rates for federal student loans and loans to parents are about to hit a 36 year low, making paying off the college years much easier.

It's a simple lesson in economics and good timing for millions of people.

"It is a wonderful time to take out a student loan," says Tyler Junior College Financial Aid Director Devon Wiggins.

Thousands of dollars in interest savings... starting July 1.

"[The rates] were like five or six [percent] last year, and a little bit higher than that the year before so it will save them quite a bit of money," Wiggins says.

For student Stafford loans: they'll go from 5.99% to 4.06%.

For PLUS loans for parents:  from 6.79% to 4.86%.

It's still not free money... but TJC junior Gerald Atchison says it's awfully close.

"It'd be economical in the long run to pay an interest rate [with a] school loan, and I'm thinking about doing that because it's hard to pay out-of-pocket like I'm doing," Atchison says.

Take these savings: a student who gets a 10-year loan worth $10,000 will save more than $1,100 in interest.

And, you can consolidate older loans at the new rate.  $30,000 over 20 years. Chalk up $7,500  saved.

Though for new students... it is just on paper.

The actual benefit of this interest rate reduction may be hard to calculate, because as interest rates are dropping-- it'll cost less to pay back a loan. At the same time, the cost of an education continues to rise.

"Tuitions keep going up... books keep rising. Books are a killer," Atchison says.