Congress should extend student loan rates

July 2, 2013 

The congressional deadline to prevent the student loan rate from doubling to 6.8 percent passed Monday, potentially costing university students and their families millions of dollars. It’s a shame.

President Barack Obama, congressional Republicans and a few Democrats want to link the rate to some financial benchmark, rather than have Congress fix the rate, but politicians could not agree on details

One last hope remains. The Senate plans a vote on July 10 to consider extending the fixed 3.4 percent rate for another year, but Republicans have threatened a filibuster to block the action.

Student indebtedness already exceeds $1 trillion. Doubling the student loan rate will discourage more American students from getting a post-secondary education.

We agree with Rep. Denny Heck who, speaking at Pacific Lutheran University on Monday, urged Congress to take action on a one-year extension before its August recess, and apply it retroactively to July 1.

That will give federal lawmakers a full year to find compromise on a new rate-setting formula.

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