College students may see some relief with student debt - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

College students may see some relief with student debt

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Amarillo, TX - College students struggling with debt may have some relief this fall at West Texas A&M University.

The Texas Higher Education Board approved a reduction in the state's loan processing fee for the college access loan program.

Dan Garcia with WTAMU Enrollment Management says this will save students money.

"The state of Texas is making changes to a college accesses loan program which is going to save students and their families, hundreds of dollars every year."

Borrowers previously paid a 3 or 5-percent fee, but now most won't pay the fee at all.

The board also announced it will lower the minimum credit score for the program allowing more students to take advantage of it.

"This is something that affects students typically after they have exhausted other loan opportunities. If they need additional loan money it probably means that they have significant financial needs to cover costs."

A WT student, Israel River, who works in the financial aid office says this change will be very beneficial for some students.

"Especially if it is a zero percent interest rate. With all the students we see come through at the financial aid office, with the interest rates fluctuating, I think it will be a great opportunity for them to actually eliminate the risk of having so much debt after they graduate"

However Garcia says in order for students to really curb student debt, financial literacy is a must.  

Too many students don't fully realize the impact it may have once they graduate and what they are going to have to do once they make those payments. So I think financial literacy is going to continue to increase"

Right now WT is focusing on educating students about loans and how to find the one which will work best for them.

 "It is important for students and families to know in some cases the cost of attending college far beyond tuition and fees it is room and board it is books, it is transportation, and those costs do add up. And for a lot families this going to be really be helpful that they have this option now and reduced fees associated with it".

These changes will be available to students starting this fall.