Student Loan Interest Rates: The Effort to Keep Education Costs Down

By Nolan DiConti/Special Report Intern

With the federal loan interest rates set to double on July 1st, college students across the United States are taking action. At the moment, interest rates are at a fixed rate of 3.4%, but will double to 6.8% if Congress is unable to reach a compromise. With the rising costs of college tuition every year, 7.4 million college students resort to borrowing from the federal government. But even with a low interest rate, nationwide student debt exceeds $1 trillion and an average student graduates with $27,250 of debt. College students are at the forefront of the #DontDoubleMyRate campaign, advocating for Congress to reach a compromise. We spoke with one such group of students, Georgetown University Student Association, who are helping lead this campaign.  

Both parties have proposed legislation, but each proposal has been unsuccessful. House Republicans passed a student loan bill that would not establish a fixed interest rate by law, but instead allow interest rates to fluctuate depending on the government’s cost of borrowing. The House Republican plan, however, failed to reach the 60 votes it needed to pass in the Senate, and faced veto threats from President Obama if it made it to the White House. The Senate Democrats’ plan would have kept interest rates at their current rates for another two years, but failed to reach the needed 60 votes as well.

But with no agreement in Washington, the Georgetown University Student Association has been taking their own initiative

Registered voters are in almost complete agreement about student loan rates. Public Policy Polling released a new poll showing more than 4 out of 5 voters want to keep interest rates where they are or lower them. As the clock winds down, talks of a bipartisan bill in the Senate has been coming up and appears to be gaining popularity from lawmakers. Certainly a tremendous feat for the #DontDoubleMyRate campaign.