Financial crisis hitting higher education

March 18, 2009 9:05:46 PM PDT
Students who have loans with the college foundation of North Carolina are no longer able to consolidate outstanding debts.The foundation posted the announcement on its website several months ago, but many students on campuses like N.C. State are just now finding out what it means.

"It really is heartbreaking," NC State student Raymahl Sutton said."You get to put all the loans you have on one separate tab, one interest being drawn from that tab instead of three different spots."

The N.C. State senior is roughly $16,000 in debt and climbing. He borrowed all the money from the college foundation of North Carolina.

"It'll probably come up to around $23,000 when I graduate," he said. "I have loans here; loans there interest piles up even faster. It's a big hole."

Raymahl's disbelief comes from the CFI's recent decision to end its debt consolidation program because of weak investments on Wall Street.

It's tough news because consolidations usually mean one lower interest rate for multiple loans, potentially saving a graduate thousand over a repayment period.

Ben Kittner says the CFI has shifted its focus.

"Our biggest priority is make sure that students who are going to college now currently or going to be going to college next year will have money to go to school," Kittner said.

Kittner says concerns have increased the foundation's call volume 20 percent from last years.

That's an average of 14,000 calls a month from parents and students on campuses across the state looking for financial answers.


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