Cedar Rapids Weather
NICC Students Tout Federal Tuition Programs
By Katie Wiedmann, Reporter
DUBUQUE, Iowa - Some federal programs that help students pay for college are on the chopping block.
Student loan interest rates could double come this summer. A student tax break is set to expire by the end of the year.
Students at NICC say one of the big reasons they once feared enrolling in classes is because they expected it would cost too much. But low student loan interest rates, federal tax breaks and Pell grants are helping them pay tuition.
Now with an possible end date in site some students are fighting to keep those programs in place.
When Chris Kramer lost his job at a toy company, he knew it was time to go back to school to learn a new skill.
"When this came about I was like ‘yeah what’s it going to cost set me back. What’s it going to cost me to do this?’" Kramer said.
Fortunately for Kramer, he’s part of a pilot program through NICC-aimed to get skilled workers into the workplace. That program allows him attend classes for free. But not all students can do that.
That’s why students and NICC staff want to keep some federal programs in place.
"Keeping the interest rates on loans low so our students can be accountable and pay back the loan as well has having Pell grants available to students [is important],” said NICC. President Dr. Liang Chee Wee.
Thousands of NICC students rely on the American Tax Credit. That gives students paying tuition money back on their taxes. Without it, Congressman Bruce Braley says tuition costs could double for community college students.
"Helping somebody borrow the maximum he or she can is not a good idea. What we want to do is make sure that when they’re done they have a manageable debt, ” Wee said.
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