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Oklahoma law helps students handle college loans

Student loan debt bill
Posted at 9:24 PM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 10:45:43-04

Current and incoming students at public universities in Oklahoma can expect an increase in tuition this fall. University of Oklahoma students will pay 2.7% more in tuition and Oklahoma State University tuition is increasing by 2.5%.

On average, tuition fees are being raised by 1.3%.

“It can start to feel like, ‘Wow, I graduated so long ago and I’m still paying this off,'" Josh Gammon said.

Gammon graduated from Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma in 2014. He just finished paying off the last of his student loan debt at the end of 2020.

"It can definitely feel like a burden," he said.

A burden his fellow Hillcats still enrolled at Rogers State will feel for the 2021-2022 academic year.

“Having that extra bill on top of all the other bills, it can definitely add up," Gammon said.

Gammon estimates he paid around $25,000 in student loans. According to Student Loan Hero, 2021 Oklahoma college students are mounting nearly $30,000 payments for higher education.

"Students are struggling to pay student loan debt," Gammon said. "I don't think you can do enough to help students, right now."

But a Senate bill signed into law this week may, at least, help clear things up for student borrowers.

The Oklahoma Student Borrowers' Bill of Rights protects the students from deceitful lenders. It requires lenders to be truthful with student borrowers on payment amounts and loan terms. They must also be open about the lending process so students know what they are getting into.

"It can be really confusing when you’re first starting out," Gammon said.

Gammon suggests student borrowers pay more than the minimum amount, per payment, to make sure they are staying ahead. He also thinks there are ways to go further to help students, like capping interest rates on loans, to make a college education affordable for more people.

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