Lawmakers are trying to lower the interest on student loans after rates doubled from 3.4 to 6.8 percent on July 1. If negotiations don't prove fruitful, the interest hike on subsidized Stafford loans could cost students $2,600 on average, according to Congress' Joint Economic Committee.
"Most students get a combination of grants and loans, so obviously its not going to affect the grants they get, but it will make them think twice about the amount of loan money that they take out," said Jim Ritter, director of enrollment management and student services at Kent State University at Trumbull.
Ritter said for students relying more heavily on student loans, it will have a fairly big impact, and could very well affect students who are thinking of going to college - especially those who won't receive any grant money. However, he added that the university hasn't noticed an immediate impact on enrollment at this time.
Elaine Ruse, director of financial aid at Youngstown State University, doesn't believe the interest rate hike will affect incoming enrollment.
"A subsidized Stafford loan is still one of the best options for students as it relates to the various student loan programs," she said, adding that the increase will not affect loans taken out prior to July 1. Additionally, the interest is deferred until six months past graduation, so students will not see an immediate affect.
"They will obviously pay more in the end, but not right away," she said.
By the numbers
Number of Americans who attend college each year.
Number of Americans who borrow annually.
Source: American Student Assistanc
YSU offers student loan repayment workshops to educate students on the different repayment programs that are available. Ritter said it is especially important that students make good choices when applying for student loans based on their career choice as well as their ability to repay.
"We've also tried to reiterate a lot of information to students that are graduating so that they understand what's available to them so they make good choices. We're trying to educate students on the front end so that they create accounts and track the loans that they are taking from the very beginning," Ritter said.
Lawmakers are continuing negotiations in an effort to reduce the increase. A tentative compromise that ensured interest rates would not reach 10 percent was abandoned last week after lawmakers were told it would cost $22 billion over the next 10 years.
"We have been working with lawmakers to make that compromise happen. We need to make sure that students don't see their rates double," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Ritter said he is optimistic that a solution will be found to reduce the rate hike.
"I believe they realize that the average student today is taking out some type of loan to pay for at least part of their tuition. I think they realize the importance of it and will come to a resolution fairly quickly," he said.
Ritter also offered some advice for current and future students: "Call their congressperson and express their concerns," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.