SOUTH BEND — Our lawmakers compromised, now we're learning more about the cuts. While funding for the Federal Pell Grant Program goes up, graduate students will pay more for their student loans.
To get ahead in life, you have to pay the cost. Erin Britt is using everything she can do that.
"I have loans, I have the Pell Grant, I get scholarships from the state," she said. "I make it work."
Welcome to the life of a college student. But these days, Britt isn't just worried about the tuition and countless fees now. She's concerned about how she's going to pay it all back later.
"I'll probably owe $50,000 before grad school," said Britt.
Thanks to the debt deal, Britt could pay even more if she continues her studies.
To save the Federal Pell Grant Program, lawmakers cut the interest loan subsidy. Gone are the days when students were charged interest on their subsidized loans after graduation. Now, the interest starts while they are still in school.
"This was the better option," said Cyndi Lang, associate director of financial aid at IU South Bend. "The lesser of two evils."
Lang said the changes starts July 1, 2012.
"We did not choose this, but this is what's happening," Lang said. "It was on the table for a while."
There are 800 graduate students at IU South Bend. Just under half, about 330 students, use subsidized loans to pay for graduate school.
Lang said students should plan and save. People with questions should fill out the FAFSA, see if they qualify and then contact their financial aid office
With papers to write, and research to do, Erin is keeping her eye on her education.
"I'll just have to worry about it when the time comes, because, if I don't graduate I don't get a job above McDonalds," she said. "I can't feed my family on that."