Paying back student loans

Gov. Cuomo lays out proposals to help students

UTICA, N.Y. - For most students, unless you get a scholarship, taking out loans to go to college is basically a given. But that can be a stress on students once they graduate.

"I think students understand there's going to be an investment, and that investment will likely be a loan," said Jeffrey Gates, senior vice president of student affairs at Utica College. "But they often ask how much is that going to be and what are our statistics and what are we doing about student loan debt?"

Recently Utica College lowered tuition, which Gates said was a way to address debt for their students. 

"I always tell families that when you leave college your investment should be something like a car payment in the 250 dollar range," he said. "Ours averages about 248 - but that's a car payment - we don't want students to leave college with a mortgage payment."

At his State of the State Address last week, Gov. Cuomo discussed the student debt crisis and proposals which he said would help combat the issue. This includes appointing a student loan ombudsman to the Dept. of Financial Services, as well as requiring colleges to provide students with an annual estimate of their loans.

"I am in support of the governor's plan, outlined last week in the state of the state message, to require more transparency and oversight of the student loan industry," said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi in a statement. "Students considering a loan for their education should know ahead of time how much they will be paying every month, and for how long, as well as understanding the interest rate they will receive."

And although he may compare this investment to a car loan, Gates said it's actually much more important.

"It's an investment that will pay off a lot longer than a car payment," he said. "A car lasts maybe five years or six years depending on how far you drive or how much you drive, maybe a little bit longer. But your college investment is your entire life."

Gates also said it's up to banks and the government to work out ways to protect students from high interest rates, which can cause more of a burden when it comes time to repaying loans. 

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