A failure by Congress to extend a cut to federal student loan rates means that rate will double Monday, an increase that will impact both students and higher education institutions.

The rate for subsidized federal Stafford loans increases to 6.8 percent with the the new fiscal year. Loans for the upcoming academic year will cost more to repay and enrollment could drop.

“The Board of Trustees is very concerned about the overall cost of attending Mississippi public universities and has taken steps to keep the cost of tuition, books, room and board as low as possible given the current economic conditions,” said Hank Bounds, commissioner of Higher Education.

Slightly more than half of students at schools in the state graduate with debt, according to a 2012 report from the Center for American Progress. The average Mississippi college student leaves school with more than $22,000 in debt.

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