Posted: Jul 24, 2013 7:36 PM by MTN News
Updated: Jul 24, 2013 7:37 PM
The Senate passed legislation today to drop student loan interest rates for the next academic year.
Both Senators Baucus and Tester voted for the bipartisan compromise to restructure government student loans back down to 3.86 percent, after a sharp hike in interest rates on July 1. That rate was 6.8 percent.
The measure passed the Senate by a vote of 81 to 18. The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act also places caps on individual student loan rates.
The compromise is retroactive, meaning any summer students who took loans out when the rate was at 6.8 percent will see their rates drop back down to 3.86.
In a statement, Sen. Baucus said that while the compromise was not perfect it was the best solution to ensure Montana students did not see their rates double this year.
"The number one priority is passing a solution that protects Montana students. This compromise is not perfect, but it makes sure our students won't see their rates double this year," Baucus said.
The compromise ties interest rates to the 10-year Treasury note and places caps to ensure Stafford Loan rates cannot spike beyond 8.25 percent.
More than 20,000 Montana students use federal student loans to pay for their education each year.
"College must be affordable to build a stronger Montana economy, and this bipartisan measure will help more Montanans go to school this fall," said Senator Jon Tester.
The measure now heads to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass.