Just in time for the upcoming academic year, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill to lower student loan interest rates by a vote of 392-31. The measure, now headed to President Obama for his signature, retroactively lowers the interest rate on loans that doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1.
Moving forward, Congress will no longer fix interest rates each year. Instead, they will be tied to the interest rate on money borrowed by the federal government. The bill does include caps so the interest rate won't exceed 8.25 percent for undergraduates, 9.5 percent for graduate students and 10.5 percent for parents who secure loans for their children.
“This bipartisan compromise offers hardworking students and families critical protections, reduces rates on all new loans this year, and saves undergraduates $1,500 on average over the life of their loans. The plan caps market-based interest rates, ensuring students won’t bear the brunt of skyrocketing rates in the future," said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas).
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will reduce the federal deficit by $715 million over the next 10 years.
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