The defeat of a student loan bill in the Senate on Wednesday clears the way for fresh negotiations to restore lower rates, but lawmakers are racing the clock before millions of students return to campus next month to find borrowing terms twice as high as when school let out.
Republicans and a few Democrats blocked a White House-backed proposal that would have restored 3.4 percent interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans for one more year. The failed stopgap measure was designed to give lawmakers time to take up comprehensive college affordability legislation and dodge 6.8 percent interest rates on new loans.
I’m one of the lucky few college graduates who will probably be able to very quickly get out from under some significant debt, but most students will simply be burdened with their loans for decades. That the interest rate is so high only adds to the problem.
Of course, the first real problem is that there’s interest on student loans at all. The government has a compelling interest in higher education graduation rates, so it really should be directly subsidizing student costs, but whereas we apparently need to spend money on an unnecessary military and a largely illegal domestic spy agency, we should at least give out student loans sans interest. This isn’t suppose to be a money-making endeavor, for fuck’s sake.