The U.S. Senate reached an agreement on legislation to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1.
Earlier this week the U.S. Senate agreed to extend the current 3.4 percent rate on Stafford loans for one year and provide $700 million extra for deficit reduction. The $6.7 billion agreement would primarily be funded from two pension measures.
The first would change how private pension interest payments are calculated. The second would increase premiums for companies participating in the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. The two changes to pension measures would provide $5.5 billion.
The additional $1.2 billion would come from limiting how long a student could receive Stafford loans to 150% of the average time it takes to complete a degree. Currently there is no limit on loans.
The agreement now goes to the House for consideration. The U.S. House previously passed a loan extension bill that paid for the legislation by using funds from a preventative care fund in the health care law.
House leadership is signaling that a vote on the agreement will come early next week.
Despite this deal, college students will still see an increase in the cost of their federal loans.
Beginning on July 1 students seeking an advance degree will be responsible for paying the interest on their federal loans while they are in school and immediately after they graduate.
In addition undergraduate students who take out federally subsidized loans will no longer have their interest covered by the government during the six months after they complete school. This change applies to new loans issued through July 2014.
These students may benefit from the lower interest rate, but they will be charged this interest as soon as they graduate. For students who apply for federal loans next year they will have a higher interest rate – 6.8% – and have to pay as soon as they get done walking across the stage.