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Chicago Students Grapple With Loan Interest Shocker

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Student loan interest rates doubled on Monday after the U.S. Senate failed to reached an agreement to ease the increase.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker took a look a Chicago students, who may soon feel the impact, and confronted Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk about what went wrong.

“We got into a fight,” Durbin, a Democrat, said.

“I wish we worked harder,” responded Kirk, a Republican.

But because the both parties didn’t work hard enough to reach a compromise, interest rates for students loans will double, from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

Amanda Marcano is already $18,000 in debt.

As she prepares for her junior year at the University of Illinois/Chicago, she needs another loan.

Under the old plan, a $5,000 government-backed loan would have cost her $887 in interest over 10 years. The new rate more than doubles her interest to $1,905.

“It makes me more frustrated than anything,” said Marcano.

“It’s quite unfortunate because college is expensive enough. A lot of us are doing it on our own. Now it’s going to be twice as hard.”

The new rate applies to new loans that Mia Fagerstron needs.

She said saddling young people with more debt is not a good way to send them on their way into the working world.

“If you have people taking out loans that they can’t pay back, it doesn’t create self-sustained individuals that you’d want to make up a society.”

Although they didn’t agree last week, Durbin and Kirk think next week may be better.

“We can get back on this and we will when we return in July,” said Durbin.

“I think we’ll have a bipartisan solution that’s coming up,” added Kirk. “There are several senators working on it.”

Lawmakers head back to Congress on July 8.

Whenever they come up with a compromise bill, it’s expected to offer retroactive protection.

That means if a student gets a loan today his or her rates won’t double.

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