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Student loan rates double without Congress' action

WASHINGTON — College students taking out new loans for the fall term will see interest rates twice what they were in the spring — unless Congress fulfills its pledge to restore lower rates when it returns after the July 4 holiday.

Subsidized Stafford loans, which account for roughly a quarter of all direct federal borrowing, went from 3.4 percent interest to 6.8 percent interest on Monday. Congress' Joint Economic Committee estimated the cost passed to students would be about $2,600.

"In the grand scheme of all the loans that I already have, I suppose it's not out of control," said Angie Platt, a 20-year-old University of Iowa student who expects to graduate with at least $60,000 in debt.

"It's just another thing to add on. It doesn't help me; that's for sure," the Lakeville, Minn., native added.

Efforts to keep interest rates from doubling on new Stafford loans fell apart last week amid partisan wrangling in the Senate. Democratic senators and the White House both predicted that a deal would be reached in Congress to bring the rates down again before students return to campus.


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