PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The economy and getting people back to work were the main focuses of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Pittsburgh on Friday.
He arrived in town this morning and headed over to Oakland where he spoke in front of a crowd at Alumni Hall at the University of Pittsburgh.
The Vice President is drumming up support for the President’s American Jobs Act, and part of the proposal deals with the re-payment of student loans.
A new study shows student loan debt is at an all-time high.
“About $100,000 when all is said and done,” said one Pitt student of her school loans.
“Definitely about $150,000 easily,” added another.
That’s what many college students can look forward to paying when they get their diploma.
But a new proposal could cap federal student loan repayment at 10 percent of their discretionary income, potentially making monthly payments much lower and less of a burden.
“I think it’s a really good idea,” said Alyssa Coast, a law student at Pitt. “It makes it much more manageable, especially when you’ve got so many loans.”
“I think honestly, anything that helps the students would be a benefit, just because funding your education can be a big burden,” added Erica Wahl, a Pitt junior.
Under the loan relief program, graduates would also be able to consolidate multiple federal loans with lower interest rates.
The promise is that all of this would come at no cost to tax payers. However, this would not help towards private student loans, which can carry hefty interest rates.
But some students here on the Pitt campus say while the cap program would help, it still doesn’t solve one big problem – the constant increases in education costs.
“We’re focusing all our anger on the loan companies, but we wouldn’t have to have the loans if the schools would control the cost,” said Jeff Guttilla, a Pitt senior.
Tuition costs are on the rise at many universities and colleges, including a recent increase at the University of Pittsburgh. Mix that with the need for private loans and a weak job market, and some feel a cap on federal loan repayment may not be enough.