- Selfies at Funerals blog creator retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
- 10-year-old Pennsylvania boy suspended for pretend bow-and-arrow shooting
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Budget deal to get quick vote in the House
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro ‘marriage’
College loan rates double as frustration with Congress grows
As student loan interest rates doubled Monday, Republicans and Democrats in Washington criticized each other for failing to come to a last-minute agreement and stave off the increase.
But across the nation, students and many in the education community care very little about whose fault it is and instead blame the federal government as a whole for coming up short on a problem that has been on the horizon for 12 months.
Congress‘ inaction means that rates for subsidized Stafford loans — about 25 percent of all student borrowing from the federal government — have jumped from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The increase was scheduled to happen last summer, but lawmakers adopted a one-year stopgap measure that froze rates until Monday, promising to tackle a long-term fix between then and now.
Instead, partisan gridlock set in, and new student borrowers can expect as much as $2,600 in additional costs over a decade as a result.
“We’re disappointed that lawmakers were unable to find a bipartisan solution that would bring down interest rates for all federal student loan borrowers — despite the fact that the Obama administration and members of Congress have proposed similar solutions that would bring federal student loan interest [rates] down,” said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, which represents more than 18,000 financial aid workers at 3,000 U.S. colleges and universities.
Indeed, the White House has expressed support for a proposal to tie interest rates to financial markets, rather than have the federal government arbitrarily set them. A Republican-led bill to do just that cleared the House earlier this year, but similar proposals have failed to pass in the Senate.
A Democratic bill to extend current, fixed rates for two years also went nowhere.
The finer details and politics of the competing ideas seem to be of secondary interest to current and prospective college students.
“That’s a big jump … I may work or ask my parents for money rather than going through all that,” she said.
Devon McMahon, a senior at Philadelphia’s Drexel University, told local media the interest debacle is an example of Washington making it more difficult for students to get their degrees.
“It’s a little disappointing because you’re going to get an education, and I just feel like people make it so much harder to achieve that through loans,” she told CBS.
On Facebook, students have launched a “Don’t Double My Rates” page, with at least a half dozen young men and women saying they’ve contacted their representatives to demand a fix.
On Capitol Hill, another one-year, stopgap measure is emerging as the most likely solution, with Republicans placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of their Democratic counterparts.
“We need the president to lead and help bring Senate Democratic leaders along to resolve this issue,” said House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. “We’ve done our job. It’s time for the president and his party to do their job.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
- High court likely to allow Obama's clean-air rules
- Funding boost of $100M for mentally ill a 'small step'
- White House PR blitz hits states that rejected Medicaid expansion
- Obama tries to calm Israeli fears over Iranian nuke deal 'not based on trust'
- Obama, first lady will attend Mandela memorial services
Latest Blog Entries
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Tea partiers turn on Capitol Hill budget deal
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- Leon Panetta named as source of 'Zero Dark Thirty' scriptwriters information
- Teen thugs in DC run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A libertarian look at breaking news and political trends by author Tom Mullen.
Uncensored exploration of issues concerning current events, civil liberties, American political advocacy, and the political and social issues facing military veterans.
An objective, analysis-based perspective of D.C. sports as seen through the eyes of lifelong D.C. sports enthusiast, John Heibel.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow