U.S. Representatives weigh in on student loan interest rate hike

By Mark Bullion

July 1, 2013 Updated Jul 2, 2013 at 10:48 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The deadline to stop the student loan interest rate hike has come and gone without any action by congress. That means millions of students will start paying double.

Federally subsidized Stafford student loan interest rates doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on Monday after Congress failed to pass legislation to keep the previous rate.

"It's political. It will get resolved. The question is how long it will take. Will it take a week? Two weeks? We've heard that there will be some sort of resolution by mid July," said Bradley University Financial Assistance Executive Director Dave Pardieck.

The U.S. House passed a student loan bill but that bill has yet to come up for a vote in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Senators decided to take the week off because of the July 4 holiday. They won't be back in session until the July 9.

"We've got to do everything within our power when we return to Washington to make sure that student loan rate stays at 3.4 percent," said Rep. Cheri Bustos, (D) 17th District.

"The Senate needs to act," said Rep. Aaron Schock, (R) 18th District. "The House passed a bill that saves a billion dollars from the Treasury, saves students anywhere from $500 to $3,500 depending on their loan size."

Congressional members are hopeful some sort of solution can be reached but differ on what it should be.

"We want to get away from congress constantly being involved with student loan rates and allow it to be tied to market fluctuations, " said Rep. Schock.

"I've introduced a piece of legislation that calls for keeping the 3.4 percent interest rate at that level for at least the next two years and then we can take a look at what we need to do for a long term solution," said Rep. Bustos.

Should lawmakers compromise and come up with a solution, it will need congressional approval for the rate to be retroactive to July 1.

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