NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- When the smoke settled on the recent debt ceiling debate, government-backed loans to college students lay, battle-scarred, as part of the collateral damage.

While the lawmakers congratulated themselves on increasing the funding for Pell Grants, the number of students qualifying to receive government-backed student loans was greatly reduced and those who do qualify will no longer have the interest deferred while they are in school. Instead, they will find themselves owing accrued interest, to be paid upon graduation.

This new development only exacerbates an already foreboding financial picture for college students. Cuts in both federal and state funding have left tuitions and fees to pick up the slack in school budgets and students are feeling the pinch.

Many have few options but to place more of the cost on their credit cards. The combined costs of college loans, as well as mounting credit card debt, place many students at risk of graduating with a debt that can take decades to pay off.

And students are understandably worried.

In New York, students partnered with members of the Student Credit Card Education Initiative are holding a concert rally to bring attention to the need for better financial education for college students. The concert on Oct. 2, Music for Change: Student Concert Rally for Credit Education, features both local artists and international performers. Between acts, members of the Student Credit Card Education Initiative, as well as other leaders in the finance industry, will take turns to address the crowd.

The musical lineup is an eclectic one to say the least. Award-winning Ellina Graypel, the Russian singer/songwriter that the Tower Grove Gazette calls, “inspired by the wind,” switches easily from playful to gut-wrenching soul. This transplanted New Yorker is as at home playing rockabilly as she is with Russian folk music. To her credit, Ellina also penned an award winning song for the documentary film “Way to God.” Then, somewhere between Kiss and Queen, is the music of BlkVampires, a self-described “alternative/soul/Gothic band” who will also be appearing on this entertaining and informative evening.

Local favorite, singer-songwriter Daso, will also carry his Latin/Caribbean/Soul sound to the Sullivan Hall stage. Daso is as known to New Yorkers for his work on the Lower East Side as Director for Children and Youth Development programs, as he is for his inspired music. Golden Child will be appearing with his band, the Chosen, to perform some hot fusion sounds.

The Student Credit Card Education Initiative, which is sponsoring the event, is a free credit education program that provides online interactive coursework through participating college and university websites.  The event is free and will take place at Sullivan Hall in New York City.

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