July 24, 2013
Bipartisan plan ends annual political gamesmanship
Students considering new loans for their education will now have more certain interest rates under an agreement the Senate passed today by a vote of 81-18. According to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., this plan creates a market-based, fiscally responsible solution that is fair to both students and taxpayers. Since Congress passed a one-year student loan interest rate extension last year, Enzi has been calling for a permanent student loan rate fix and an end to the political gamesmanship at the expense of students.
“For years, Congress knew that student loan interest rates would double for new loans and decided to play politics instead of trying to solve the problem,” said Enzi. “Grandstanding is a common theme these days, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We can avoid the theatrics and finger-pointing and actually address the unresolved problems before us, if there is a willingness by both sides to do what’s right.”
In 2007, Congress temporarily lowered interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans over four years from 6.8 to 3.4%. In 2012, Congress extended these low rates for one year at a cost of nearly $6 billion with the expectation of finding a long-term fix during that year. On July 1, the one year extension expired and subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans rose to a fixed rate of 6.8% on new loans.The student loan bill the Senate passed tonight lowers the interest rate for 100% of borrowers for new federal loans issued after July 1. Federal student loans would be tied to rates on the 10-year Treasury bill, with a cap on allowable rates.