Students hoping president's college loan plan provides relief - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Students hoping president's college loan plan provides relief

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College hopefuls get questions answered at Cashman Center Tuesday. Elizabeth Watts (FOX5) College hopefuls get questions answered at Cashman Center Tuesday. Elizabeth Watts (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

With the poor job market and the rising cost of tuition, many current and future college students are worried about how they'll pay for education.

Student loan debt is outpacing credit card debt for the first time in history, and President Obama is expected to announce changes to make student loans more affordable Wednesday.

The president's proposed changes include lower interest rates and consolidated loans. The changes could affect students looking for a higher education and those in college now.

FOX5 caught up with students who attended a college fair at Cashman Center Tuesday. Many are worried about paying tuition.

"Just not being able to pay for it and the stress about it and finishing school and our parents – they already have to struggle," Sierra Vista High School junior Kourtney McLeod explained.

UNLV admissions financial aid counselor Jaime Carbajal, Jr. said money is at the forefront of most potential students' minds.

"That tends to be [the] number one question, specifically with financial aid: how can I get  scholarships, resources; or, what loan opportunities [are available] for me?"

Tyrone Cooper worked the UNLV booth at the CCSD College Fair. He's a junior at UNLV and knows all about student debt.

"I have about three loans adding up to about $12,000," he said.

Cooper is planning on getting another loan for his senior year, and possibly for graduate school as well.

Average student debt in American for the class of 2009 was about $24,000.

President Obama would like to put a loan payment program based on income on the fast track. Congress approved it to begin in 2014, but the president would like to move it up to January, 2012.

The repayment cap would go from 15 percent of person's income to 10 percent and could affect more than 1.5 million students.

"With his plan, what he's going to implement, it would help students a lot," Cooper said.

Those with two or more federal loans might soon be able to consolidate them. That would give about 5.8 million borrowers a small break on interest.

With student loan debt expected to reach a trillion dollars in the United States this year, students say they could use all the help they can get.

Unemployment for recent college grads climbed from nearly 6 percent in 2008 to nearly 9 percent in 2009.

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