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Student loan rates going down?

US Capitol Building

TEXT OF STORY

LISA NAPOLI: Next up on Congress' 100-hour agenda: the cost of higher education. Tomorrow the House is expected to pass a bill that would cut interest rates on student loans. Marketplace's Hillary Wicai has more.


HILLARY WICAI: The bill would cut in half the rates on federally-subsidized student loans over the next five years.

It could wind up saving the average borrower about $4,500. Nice, but students graduating tens of thousands of dollars in debt say it's just a first step.

Jennifer Pae is the President of the U.S. Students Association. She'd like more grants, some debt forgiveness and a streamlined and cheaper loan process.

JENNIFER PAE: What we're asking for is to ensure that Congress is assessing the real needs and the real problems and to look at higher education more comprehensively, because it isn't just student loans. We're talking about the most needy students that are being priced out of higher education.

House Democrats have a plan to cover the $6 billion cost of the interest rate cut: They'll trim subsidies for private sector lenders.

That means banks aren't happy. Still they expect it to pass the House, so bankers plan to make their case later to the Senate.

In Washington, I'm Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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