Most Virginia student loan borrowers aren't using pay as you earn option

By Jenna Zibton - Anchor

WASHINGTON DC (WSLS 10) - A GAO report found by the end of March, nearly eight million Americans had failed to make a monthly payment on their student loans.

In Virginia there are more than 350,308 federal student loan borrowers currently owing $10,556 million. But only 62,808 (18-percent) are enrolled in the pay as you earn or other income driven plans. It's numbers like this causing a domino effect on life after graduation.

"Everything from it's preventing people from saving for a down payment for a home, it might delay marriage or having kids," said Kelli Grant, CNBC Consumer reporter.

"It's having an effect on our entire economy and the way we live our lives because we're overwhelmed with this debt right out of school," said Kelley Long, from the American Institute of CPA's.

The student aid bill of rights that President Obama signed a year ago let's students pay less when they earn less, more as they earn more was supposed to help. But the GAO found 70-percent of those in default qualify for it but don't know about it.

The White House announced it's putting pressure on firms that service student loans and getting the consumer financial protection bureau involved aiming to enroll two million in *pay as you earn* by this time next year.

(NBC News contributed to this report.)

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