Student loan payments may soon come straight out of paychecks - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Student loan payments may soon come straight out of paychecks

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Student loan payments could soon come right out of your paycheck, under a controversial plan before Congress.

Lawmakers will consider overhauling the $100 billion student loan program, which is designed to make sure payments are made on time. Some students say the rules aren't flexible enough. 

There's currently $1 trillion in outstanding student loans; a figure that exceeds credit card debt. Under the proposal, loans would be paid, but some students are wondering if they'd be left struggling more than ever. 

"I think that's a terrible idea," said VCU sophomore Cara Lewis.

"I don't think that's the best idea," VCU junior Renee Mellinger added. 

"I think student loans in general are a bad idea," said VCU student Bolaji Oyegunle. 

According to the plan introduced by Wisconsin Rep. Tom Petri, payments would be capped at 15 percent of borrowers' incomes. The government would simply cut loan payments from borrowers' paychecks.  

"The first thing I think of is if there's not enough in my bank account. I don't know what's gonna happen then," Mellinger said. 

"I'm going to pharmacy school, and if I'm going to pay back my own loans, I want to pay them back on my own time," Lewis explained. 

The potential good news for borrowers is that interest owed would be capped at 50 percent. So for example if you took out a loan for $27,000, interest would be capped at $13,500. 

$27,000 is the average loan taken out by four-year college students. The cap puts Oyegunle at ease because he worries about a mountain of debt growing over time. 

"If the interest keeps going, it's just gonna perpetuate over time. How would it ever stop? You're gonna be forever in debt like an indentured servant or something," said Oyegunle. 

If the plan makes its way through Congress, students would no longer have to go through confusing negotiations with financial companies issuing the loans… a hot topic already on campus.  

A decision on the student loan overhaul will likely be made next year, according to aides for Rep. Petri.

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