College students can breathe a small sigh of relief. That’s because Congress just signed off on a deal that will stop the increase in student loan interest rates that were threatened. This could affect as many as 7 million people.
As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said,
“On the student loan issue, Republicans and Democrats worked hard to find common ground. The agreement we’ve reached will ensure that college students, who are already facing enormous challenges in the Obama economy, won’t be paying higher interest rates next month.
Without congressional action at this time, the interest rates for college students would have doubled to 6.8% in July. Instead, Republicans and Democrats agreed to keep the current 3.4% interest rate for many federal loans as it is for one more year.
As White House press secretary Jay Carney explained in a statement,
“We are pleased that Congress has finally passed a bipartisan bill to stop student loan interest rates from doubling and put Americans to work rebuilding our nation’s roads and bridges. For months, President Obama has been calling on Congress to take up these two important priorities before middle class families pay the price for inaction.”
In the end, the bill was approved by the House with a vote of 373-52 and by the Senate with a vote of 74-19. This should pave the way for Obama to sign the bill into law – and for students to have a momentary reprieve with their education bills.