Student loans: White House backs new compromise deal

Student loans would be linked to the financial markets, thus keeping student loan interest rates lower, as part of a new bipartisan plan endorsed Tuesday by the White House.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File
Heading off a costly rate increase for returning college students, a bipartisan group of senators reached a deal July 17, 2013 to offer students better rates this fall but perhaps assign higher rates in coming years. The White House endorsed the plan on Tuesday.

The White House is urging Congress to pass a bipartisan compromise on student loans that would offer lower interest rates for the next few years.

The White House on Tuesday released a statement urging swift passage of the deal, negotiated over the last few weeks by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina. Under the deal, interest rates would be linked to the financial markets.

Interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans doubled to 6.8 percent on July 1 because Congress did not act. Lawmakers say the rate is unacceptably high but they differ on how best to restore them.

Lawmakers are set to consider the bipartisan fix on Wednesday. It would overhaul the entire federal student lending program.

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