GREEN BAY - Another deadline is looming for lawmakers in Washington. This time it affects college students whose summer vacations could hit a low point on July 1.
Unless Congress takes action, interest rates on federal Stafford loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
According to the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, or WISPIRG, this would affect more than 159,000 students in Wisconsin. The group also says the debt increase per student would be about $915.
Students and parents locally say they've been nervously watching the student loan rate debate unfold. Financial aid advisors say there are things you can do to prepare yourself.
While families like the Sprangers check out colleges this summer, they're also trying to decide how to pay for it all.
"Oh yes, yes. That's a big concern," said Sara Sprangers, mother.
"It's kind of nerve-wracking. I was trying to just blow it off but now it's getting closer so I have to start working more and have to start worrying of how I'm going to pay for it, and how many student loans I will actually need," said Rachel Sprangers of Kaukauna.
And the family says it is especially concerned with student loan rates set to double July 1.
"It's scary because it's going to take a long time to pay them off," said Rachel Sprangers.
Senate Democrats had a plan to freeze the rate for two years. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin said in a statement:
"By closing special interest tax loopholes we can ensure college affordability and strengthen the economic security of Wisconsin families and students."
Last Thursday, the Senate rejected that plan. It also rejected a Republican plan that would adjust student loan interest rates based on market values.
Republican Congressman Tom Petri of Fond du Lac is proposing a similar plan in the House. Petri's plan would adjust student loan interest rates based on market values. It would also have income-based repayment plans. So, recent grads could pay what they could afford.
"So which plan would be better, it's too hard to speculate, there have been about 4 or 5 proposals that have gone through," said Jim Rohan, UWGB financial aid director.
Financial aid advisors say it's impossible to predict what Congress will do with student loan rates. However, they say there are things students and parents can do to plan for their financial futures.
"Try and adjust what they're doing, their spending habits, the things that they're used to having," said Rohan.
Families say they hope a solution is found fast to make that planning a little easier.
UW-Green Bay financial aid advisors say 70 percent of the school's students receive some sort of financial aid. The most popular, subsidized student loans.
A celebration at the nation's first school forest is sending Laona students back to their roots.
Several fire departments battling a shed fire in Abrams.
An armed robbery suspect sustained life-threatening injuries after being shot in Fond du Lac County.
First responders helped ring in the holidays at the 45th annual Howard-Suamico Christmas Parade.
Christmas is just two and half weeks away, and kids and families are getting into the holiday spirit.
Single digit temps around the area caused problems in the Fox Valley Saturday morning.