• College students could see financial aid impacted by fiscal cliff

    By: Catherine Bilkey


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - If Republicans and Democrats fail to reach an agreement, it could put a strain on students who depend on financial aid. 

    Tony Carter, the director of student financial aid at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is concerned federal cuts will take a chunk out of financial aid funding.

    "Any type of negative impact on financial aid will probably be magnified on this campus because we have so many students needing financial aid," Carter said.

    He said they're already strained with previous cuts.

    "What I feel could happen if we go over this ‘fiscal cliff’ and these automatic cuts have to be put in place is we're going to see interest rates on student loans go up," Carter said. "We may even see the elimination of subsidized loans altogether."

    His advice for students: Apply early for financial aid. He said that way there will be more funds available even if inaction in Congress means less aid overall. The other issue that students will have to tackle is a potential tax hike.

    "Even if they don't have aid, their parents or they themselves, if they have a job. Their taxes are going to go up, which makes it more difficult for them to pay for college," Professor James Douglas said.

    The professor of public administration doesn't see the United States falling off the "fiscal cliff" this winter.

    "They'll probably either come to some kind of agreement or they'll eliminate the deadline...push the deadline into the future another year or so," Douglas said.

    Students are still worried.

    "I have to pay for college by myself," Amanda Gonya said. "So, I really need to not have that much interest or I'm going to be in debt when I get out."

    "I do think a lot of people will struggle," Rachel Chickering said.

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