Senate Bill Would Restore Lower Student Loan Rates

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The Senate is preparing to vote on a tentative student loan rates bill that could help returning college students this fall.

Interest rates doubled on July 1, but a bipartisan group of senators reached a deal Wednesday that would offer undergrads applying for new loans a 3.85 percent interest instead of the current 6.8 percent. Graduate students would pay 5.4 percent.

Under the new agreement, student interest rates would be tied to financial markets, increasing as the economy improves. Democrats persuaded GOP lawmakers to place a cap on how high they could climb.

"We have a plan that ought to save students in 11 million families billions of dollars. And we've had a good discussion with Senator Harkin and Senator Durbin," Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. said.

"We'd like to be able to do this together, and we hope we can, and we hope we will come to a decision right away because families need to make their plans," he continued.

"The House can hopefully accept it, send it to the president, and it [can] all be done by the end of the month," Alexander added.

The Senate could vote on the bill as early as Thursday.

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