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July 20, 2013

Plan will tie students’ loans to Treasury bills

NORMAN — While most college students don’t think about the global view of educational loans, the rising collective debt load has been the topic of discussion among many Washington politicians.

The total debt, estimated by the Federal Reserve at $1 trillion, reflects an occupational shift in America’s work force. More occupations require education beyond high school and college enrollment is up accordingly.

Congress is putting together a plan to let students avoid higher interest rates on federal loans and know exactly the cost of their future education. A bipartisan Senate coalition say they’ve reached a compromise to lower the rate students pay.

The plan is that for each academic year, all new loan rates will be set to the U.S. Treasury 10-year borrowing rate. Some students were facing a doubling of their rate this year from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

“This compromise is a win-win for both students and taxpayers,,” U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, told reporters. “Tying interest rates to the market allows students to take advantage of historically low rates while ensuring taxpayers will not have to foot the bill for arbitrary rates set by Congress. I am pleased senators agreed on a permanent, principled solution instead of a short-term political fix."

House members had already passed a similar bill. If it works out, the differences could be resolved before students return to campus.

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