JEFFERSON CITY - Despite the lending crisis, student loans interest rates are decreasing and not facing any apparent shortages.
Officials said student loan interest rates are not responsive to changes in the economy. Federal loans are set at fixed rates and have been decreasing over the past several years due to a measure passed by Congress.
The Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority website currently lists undergraduate loans with a cap of 6.8%.
MOHELA official William Shaffner said hard economic times have lead to an increase in higher education enrollment. This, in turn, has contributed to higher rates of federal loan applications. Shaffner said that despite the increase, there has been no shortage of funds available.
"MOHELA and lender partners have been able to make sure there have been loans for everyone," Shaffner said.
Interest rates on private loans have also decreased. However, availability has gone down considerably.
Harrison Wadsworth of the Consumer Bankers Association said he thought availability would be on the rebound soon.
"Credit checks will remain tougher in the future, but private loans have already started to come back," Wadsworth said.
For students who perhaps don't qualify for enough loan money to cover all expenses, Wadsworth said alternatives are still available even with fewer private loans.
"Credit cards and home equity loans are options too," he said.