House OKs Lower Student Loan Rates (for Now)

President Obama expected to sign measure into law

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 31, 2013 6:06 PM CDT

(Newser) – Congress has sent its student loan fix to President Obama for his expected signature, and it contains a mix of good news and bad news for college students. The good news is that freshmen this fall will pay an interest rate of 3.9%, down from the 6.8% that went into effect in July, reports CNN. The bad news is that the rate will be tied to the financial markets, meaning that as the economy improves—which college students would be rooting for in every other way—the rate will rise accordingly, reports AP.

Though it will be capped at 8.25% for regular students, 9.5% for graduate students, and 10.5% for parents, consumer advocates say those rates are too high. The measure cleared the House easily this evening by a vote of 392-31. Here's a sample of the differing reaction:

  • Pro: "This is a win for students and taxpayers," says Republican John Kline of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. "It saves students and families money," says Democrat George Miller of the same panel.
  • Con: "The bottom line is that students will pay more under this bill than if Congress did nothing, and low rates will soon give way to rates that are even higher than the 6.8% rate that Congress is trying to avoid," says an official with the consumer group US PIRG.

  (Shutterstock)
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