'Your future is sitting right in front of you, and Congress is saying no'

SEATTLE -- Both Democrats and Republicans say they want to keep student loan interest rates from doubling. It'll cost $6 billion to do so, and Democrats want to pay for it by closing tax loopholes for wealthy professionals, while Republicans would rather take the money from President Obama's health care overhaul.

Among those caught in the middle is Tyson Hillquist.

"I started doing research on leaders that inspired me, and I realized that they were all educated -- most of them were educated," Hillquist said. "And I thought to myself, 'I'll start there.' "

Hillquist is a White Center kid whose mom dropped out of school and had him when she was 13. It took him awhile, but at 31, Hillquist wants desperately to get an education and make a difference.

"We're here to be great. We go to school because we have a dream," he said.

The U.S. Senate failed to pass a bill Thursday that would keep student loans at 3.4 percent. Unless something happens, they'll jump to 6.8% on July 1. And Democrats and Republicans can't agree on how to pay for it.

"We're right in the middle," Hillquist said. "I don't know if they forgot what it's like to be a student? The prices you pay... T don't know if they're so far removed that they forgot."

So Hillquist is getting involved.

"Please don't balance the budget on my back," he said. "Our backs as students are already burdened enough with backpacks full of overpriced text books, and two years of 12 percent increase in our tuition fees."

He was there with his fellow South Seattle Community college students Friday as Sen. Patty Murray spoke at a rally.

"Let Congress know, don't double my rates," she said to the crowd.

After the rally, Murray said the stalemate has made her mad.

"I know what it's like to be a young student and you're trying to figure out how you're going to make your monthly payments and how you're going to pay tuition," she said. "Your future is sitting right in front of you, and Congress is saying no."

Meanwhile, Hillquist is working two jobs, living on four hours' sleep and struggling to pay for school.

He worries about his future, and he's not the only one.

"And it makes you second guess, can you afford to go on?" he said.

Congress has until July 1 to figure something out. If the rates double, the average borrower will pay $1,000 more on interest payments.