Advocates for people trying to pay off student loans hope Congress can close a deal to keep the interest rates where they are.  The government-subsidized Stafford loans are due to go from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent after this week, unless Congress acts. While a tentative deal has been reported, “a tentative deal isn’t good enough for families and students to budget on,” says Rich Williams, federal higher education advocate for the Illinois Public Interest Research Group.


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Chicagoan Marty Gleason, whom Illinois PIRG made available for reporters, is a Cook County juvenile probation officer who says he will likely have to quit his job to support his family and pay his debts. He says it takes a lot of education to “work with kids at risk in complex systems like the juvenile justice system, clinical systems; in order to do this level of work, we all need advanced degrees.”


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