Victory! Congress Votes To Extend Stafford Student Loan Rate

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By Consumers Union on Friday, June 29th, 2012

Due in a large part to pressure from consumers, students, and a coalition of advocacy groups Congress approved a legislative package that would extend the current interest rate cap on subsidized Stafford student loans.  The House passed the legislation by a vote of 373 to 52, and the Senate approved it 74-19.

The legislation contains a number of pro-consumer provisions that would help students and their families. Millions of students are struggling to afford college and face the prospect of graduating with a mountain of debt. The last thing they need is for interest rates to double on student loans. This agreement offers some much needed relief to students who are working hard to pay for the education they need to succeed. Senate leaders deserve credit for finding a bipartisan solution to keep these student loan interest rates low.

Two-thirds of all college students now graduate with student loan debt, compared to just one-third a decade ago. On average, these students graduate with $25,000 in debt. An estimated 7.5 million borrowers would be facing higher interest rates on new subsidized Stafford student loans beginning on July 1 if Congress allowed the rate cap to expire. If interest rates doubled to 6.8 percent, the average student would wind up owing one thousand dollars more in student loan debt over the life of the loan.

Thanks to everyone who took action, sent in a photo for our video (below), and helped make this victory possible!

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