Education reform bill helps Yakima students afford college - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Education reform bill helps Yakima students afford college

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YAKIMA, Wash.- Courtney May and Dennis Wilson both have thousands of dollars worth of student loans, a job and a full load of work. Paying off student loans is not something they look forward to.

"I know it's in the thousands, that's a lot of money, so I'm going to try to pay it off as soon as I can cause I don't want to be in debt the rest of my life just trying to get an education," said Courtney May a student at YVCC.

But now there has come relief in sight. President Obama signed the college affordability reform Tuesday morning. For students at YVCC, it's a step towards paying off their loans.

"A lot of money to pay back, I think with bill being passed it'll be a lot easier for students to worry about how they're going to pay for school and stuff," said Dennis Wilson, a student at YVCC.   

The reform will allow students to receive more in federal grants, keep loan rates low for students with debt by capping their payments at 10 percent of their income and will put $4 billion into community colleges across the nation. So what does that mean for students in Yakima?

"It makes it a little easier for them to borrow which is always a concern we have with these economic times," said Laura Pendleton, the director of financial aid at YVCC.

Thirty-one percent of YVCC students currently take out loans and with the new bill, administrators expect that number to increase over the next few years.