Student Loan Rate Hike Is Overhyped Congress is screwing college students in much bigger ways By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted May 10, 2012 11:33 AM CDT 18 comments Comments College students have bigger problems than their Stafford Loan rates. (Shuttetstock) (Newser) – Congress is up in arms over how to keep rates on Stafford student loans from doubling in July, but Mark Kantrowitz and Lynn Shaughgnessy have a question: Who cares? "The partisan posturing is a distraction from far more pressing issues that face students," the college experts write in the New York Times. Stafford rates have only been at their current low rate for about a year, and even if they jumped back up, it would only costs students about $6 extra a month. But meanwhile, Congress has completely gutted Pell grants, which this year will only be available to families with $23,000 or less in income, down from $32,000 last year. It's also ignoring the stratospheric rates on Direct PLUS Loans for Parents, college affordability, and the mountains of debt students already have—which, unlike almost every other kind of debt, can't be discharged in bankruptcy. "These issues are a much bigger deal than a $6-a-month increase in loan payments. It's a shame so few people are talking about them." Click for their full column.