Senate Cuts College Loan Interest Rates In Half

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(Memphis) There is a compromise when it comes to the education of college students. After lots of back and forth on college loan interest rates, the U.S. Senate finally reached a compromise.

They reached that compromise just in time for the new semester to start.

Student Jennifer Hawks said, “Without a student loan, I wouldn’t even be in college right now.”

That statement is true for many University of Memphis students.

Rarely do Pell Grants and scholarships pay for all expenses.

Taking out student loans is sometimes the only way to earn a degree.

Hearing senators approved a plan backed by both Republicans and the president is a relief. It keeps the interest rate around 3.5 percent for now.

University of Memphis student body president, Ricky Kirby, said, “U of M has a higher adult population. A lot of them have full-time jobs on top of everything and they have to take care of families. Student loans are vital part of our campus and how our students pay for tuition.”

Kirby had a hand in getting the college loan bill passed.

He joined 200 other student body presidents signing and sending a petition to Washington.

It affects 11 million undergraduates, locking in loan rates for the life of a loan.

Senator Lamar Alexander, a past president of the University of Tennessee, pushed for the bi-partisan bill.

Alexander said, “This is a victory for students. It makes loans cheaper, simpler, cheaper, fairer more certain.”

Alexander says this ends the yearly game of Congress playing politics with student loan interest rates at the expense of students planning their futures.

However, some Democrats disagree and say the idea of linking student loan rates to markets is dangerous because those rates can make drastic jumps.

Congress did set a cap on rates for students. It is 8.25 percent for undergraduates and 9.5 percent for graduate students.

Alexander says the average UT student owes $20,000 when they graduate.