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April 26, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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Increasing interest rates on student loans

Affects grads, undergrads

I appreciate the recent editorial on student loans, but as one of the 12,000 graduate students at UW, I wish you had addressed our concerns as well. [“Freeze interest rates on student loans,” Opinion, April 25.]

While undergraduates are facing the doubling of interest rates on loans after July 1, graduate students will be unable to get any subsidized loans after that date, thanks to action by Congress last year.

Tuition for grad students at UW has been skyrocketing, with many programs seeing annual increases of 15 percent. This not only affects current students but also the university’s ability to attract new students. A frequent question at a recent open house for my program was “How are you paying for this tuition?” The answer: “lots of loans.”

Particularly hard-hit are students in programs that do not lead to wealthy careers — like nursing, urban planning, or public health. They are wondering how they are ever going to pay off their student debt, let alone buy a house one day.

Congress should take action to help both undergrad and grad students on loans. And even more important, our state Legislature and the voters need to support new revenue to fund higher education — it’s an investment in our state’s future.

— Melanie Mayock, Seattle

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