UT graduates uncertain about financial future

UT graduates uncertain about financial future

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UT students prepared for commencement Wednesday morning in Thompson-Boling Arena. UT students prepared for commencement Wednesday morning in Thompson-Boling Arena.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Nearly 4,000 University of Tennessee students will receive their degrees this spring. With high unemployment rates and an increase in student loan rates looming, the graduates are trying to remain positive.

For many students like Katy Reed, graduation is the moment they've been waiting for.

"I'm graduating from college. I'm so excited. I'm graduating with an animal science degree," Reed said.

Ben Ford graduated with a degree in plant science. Now "I'm about $20,000 in debt and the job outlook for plant science majors, we make about $25,000 a year," he said.

Student loan interest rates could go up for more than 7 million undergrads who are taking out federally subsidized student loans. If Congress doesn't act by July 1, the rates are set to double to 6.8 percent.

It's something Ford says would hurt the economy. "I think that student loans should be interest free. It's a way for the government to invest in the economy," he explained.

Another bill being considered is the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012. Basically if a person puts 10% of their discretionary income toward their loans for 10 years their remaining federal student loan debt will be forgiven.

It's a plan Aaron Taylor supports. "Ten percent is a very appealing number. It's better than 100 percent so I feel like that would be better and not create that much more debt."

While many graduates support the legislation, some worry about how the student loan breaks would be paid for. It will cost $6 billion to extend the low loan rates another year.

Critics of student loan forgiveness say most students work hard to repay those loans without help.

Many of the graduates who spoke with 6 News are continuing their education, but those entering the work force feel confident they'll be able to find a job in their field of study, despite the high unemployment numbers.

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