For years, the Higher Education Act has set the ground rules for all federal financial aid to students. Now, the Act is up for reauthorization.
To prepare for the day when Congress has to give its stamp of approval on the massive bill, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee has begun holding hearings on provisions lawmakers want to re-evaluate.
The U.S. Senate has reached an agreement on a bill that would tie student-loan interest rates to market-based rates. The deal comes just three weeks after interest rates doubled on July 1, concerning everyone from high school seniors to their parents.
Under the plan, interest rates would roll back to 3.8 percent. If the market goes up, student loan rates would go up, and they’d be capped at 8.25 percent for undergraduates and 9.5 percent for graduate students.
“To get it through Congress, we had to agree to a cap,” said Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, part of the bipartisan group of senators that supported the bill. Speaking on WGBH’s The Takeaway, Coburn said the deal would prevent any new taxpayer losses.
College students may have dodged a bullet. Senators reached a tentative deal with President Obama Thursday that would roll back interest rates on new federal student loans.
The stalemate in Congress forced student loan interest rates to double on July 1. This new deal would cap rates at 8.25 percent for undergraduates and 9.5 percent for graduate students. It would also tie loans to market-based rates. So if interest rates go up, student loans would also go up.