February 8, 2016

Deadline nears for Congress to prevent student loan interest rate hike

Congressman Adrian Smith

The interest rate for federal student loans will double on July 1st if Congress doesn’t act, another in a series of legislative deadlines facing lawmakers.

Nebraska Congressman Adrian Smith says there is money available to pay for the rate cut.

“The president, in his own budget, proposed that a part of the health care bill be eliminated, a certain fund there,” Smith says. “What we in the House have done is propose that those funds be used to continue the current student loan interest rate.”

The rate would jump from 3.4% to 6.8%, affecting some seven-million student borrowers. Smith says it appears there is a large dose of election year politics involved.

“It speaks volumes that back when the rate was reduced, it was designed to expire in July of a presidential election year,” he says. “I think that invites more politics into the equation than there should be.”

The rate cut was part of a bi-partisan college finance package passed by Congress in 2007. If the rate interest rate increase goes into effect, students would be required to pay an average of $1,000 more per year of school.

Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton

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