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NEWS
July 10, 2013 | By Jon Healey
Top Senate Democrats tried again Wednesday to push through a bill to extend for one year the just-expired 3.4% interest rate on some federal student loans. And predictably, the bill was blocked by a filibuster, with one Democrat and one Independent joining all 46 Republicans in opposition. The two camps are divided over whether to adopt a stopgap solution or a long-term one that shifts from fixed to adjustable rates. That divide seems too wide to be bridged before low- and moderate-income students start having to take out loans at the new interest rate.
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NEWS
July 10, 2013 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - A proposal to extend lower interest rates for some federal student loans failed for the second time in the Senate on Wednesday, putting new pressure on Democrats to reach a compromise on the issue. A unanimous bloc of Republicans, joined by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and independent Angus King of Maine, voted against a procedural step that would have allowed the approach favored by Senate Democratic leaders to move forward. Their bill would reinstate for one year the 3.4% interest rate for subsidized Stafford loans that expired June 30. With no action in Congress so far, the rate has doubled to 6.8%.
NATIONAL
July 10, 2013
By Michael A. Memoli WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats failed again Wednesday to pass their plan to lower the interest rate for some college loans, forcing lawmakers to choose between adopting another plan many consider burdensome for students or leaving the current higher rates temporarily in effect, to their own political detriment. A bloc of Republicans - joined by Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Angus King (I-Me.) - voted against a procedural step that would have cleared the way for the Senate to approve a plan to reinstate lower interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans for one year.
NATIONAL
July 9, 2013 | By Marina Villeneuve
WASHINGTON - Antonya Bruno, a senior at Howard University, has used the maximum amount of federal loans over the last three years to help pay her steadily climbing tuition. "It's been very helpful," she said, happy that she has avoided taking out more expensive private loans. Because of a political stalemate, however, Bruno will see the interest rate on her new loans double to 6.8% unless Congress can pass a retroactive fix. It could add $1,000 over the life of her loans, and cost new students four times as much.
BUSINESS
July 2, 2013 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Interest rates on some student loans doubled to nearly 7% Tuesday after Congress failed to reach a last-minute compromise. The interest rates on federally subsidized Stafford loans jumped from 3.4% to 6.8% but could be reduced when lawmakers return from the Fourth of July holiday. Lawmakers from both parties, as well as the White House, vowed to lower that rate before students start signing loan documents this fall. The rate now stands higher than that of most loans available from private lenders, the Associated Press reported.
NEWS
June 28, 2013 | By Jon Healey
Congress racked up another F this week, failing to stop a looming increase in student loan interest rates that both parties say they oppose. Friday will be the last day for college students of modest means to obtain a federal loan at the ultra-low interest rate of 3.4%, at least for a while. The rate jumps to 6.8% Monday for new subsidized Stafford loans, a type of loan available only to students from low- and moderate-income families. Lawmakers missed the interest rate deadline despite the fact that they had a pair of thoughtful proposals for how to proceed.
BUSINESS
June 28, 2013 | By Michael Memoli
WASHINGTON - U.S. senators headed home for a Fourth of July recess without passing a bill that would prevent interest rates from doubling on student loans next week, leading to a ramp-up of political finger-pointing. Last year, Democrats used the looming increase in the cost of student loans to great political effect, pressuring Republicans in an election year and rallying young voters in support of President Obama's campaign. Now, as a temporary extension of discounted interest rates is set to lapse, Democrats are at odds with one another over the issue, with the party's leaders privately grumbling about a White House proposal nearer to Republicans' solution than their own. So Republicans are happily turning the political heat on Democrats.
BUSINESS
June 25, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
The student debt crisis is one of those issues that concentrates the minds of both parties in Congress. That's why there are at least half a dozen legislative proposals circulating in Washington to forestall a doubling of interest rates on many federal student loans scheduled to take effect July 1. But it doesn't explain why almost all those proposals ignore the one remedy to graduates' loan burdens that would make their squabbling over an interest-rate...
OPINION
June 22, 2013 | By Adam B. Wolf
Cable news channels regularly stoke their viewers' fears about China holding $1.1 trillion of U.S. debt. But they're focused on the wrong $1.1 trillion of loans. The borrowers of this other $1.1-trillion debt are far more likely to default on their obligations: students, particularly those who went to for-profit colleges. The global consequences could be - and likely will be - staggering. More than 38 million Americans have student loans outstanding. To put this in perspective, 38 million is the combined population of New York and Florida.
OPINION
June 21, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
In the latest episode of Congressional Groundhog Day, lawmakers are caught once again in a partisan stalemate with time running out. This time, the interest rate on the most popular form of student loan will double if Congress fails to act by July 1. That's an outcome no one wants. The twist is that, instead of picking another fight with Democrats over how to cover the cost of the program, Republicans are backing a long-term solution that's similar to one President Obama proposed in his latest budget.
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