High school students, parents react to student loan reform - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

High school students, parents react to student loan reform


By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - In two days, President Obama is expected to sign a bill aimed at making higher education more affordable. This week, Congress approved big changes in the student loan program. The president predicts that with the reforms, by the end of the decade the United States will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

On Sunday, high school students Courtney Davis and Katye Miller became the first ever winners of the Florence Gardens Scholarship For Community Improvement. For both girls, that means $1,000 they will not have to come up with to pay for college.

"Very stressful and it's still a process that will continue throughout college," said Katye Miller, a Gulfport High senior. "It's like you start off trying to pay for it and then you have to continue paying for it."

Many students will look to their families to help them pay for school. Some parents say while it's nice the government is putting more money in the Pell Grant program, they'd like to see more done.

"For us, it would probably be to increase the cut off for that because we're probably just above that allowable income," Phyllis Miller said. "So we have to go other routes. I think she's going to take out a lot of the loans herself so that I don't have to."

Once college grads start to repay their loans, the government wants to cap those payments to 10 percent of their income.

"It's helping people so they don't have to have so much to have to pay after college," said Katherine Ander, a Harrison Central High Senior. "Having to worry about getting a job and paying bills already before you have even started making money."

Her mother Margo said, "The kids that are taking out these loans, they're upside down before they even have a job. They're getting out of college and they're going to be making less. The least amount that they'll make in their whole life. "

"They'll have the biggest debt that they'll have in their whole life, short of a house. Who knows if they can afford a house if they're still paying students loans."

Congress passed legislation ending subsidies for banks and middlemen who handle student loans. President Obama said the $68 billion in savings over the next ten years will also help revitalize community colleges and historically black colleges.

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