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Education

Student Loan Deal Still in Flux

By Alyson Klein — July 11, 2013 1 min read

So all that student loan drama isn’t going away anytime soon. A group of senators—including the two top lawmakers in the Senate on education, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. had come close to a deal to lower interest rates on subsidized, undergraduate student loans, which jumped from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent earlier this month.

But the deal blew up as soon as the group learned that the proposal would cost $22 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Republicans had previously supported a provision sponsored by a bipartisan group of senators lead by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., Richard Burr, R-N.C., Angus King, I-Maine, Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Alexander. But that proposal failed to gain support from key Democrats (including Harkin) who worried that there was no cap on interest rates to protect students if loan rates soar. That could come back in vogue, the aide said.

“A compromise is necessary and remains the goal,” a Senate aide said.

The student loan debate has taken up a lot of congressional air time but how much does it really matter for college access? Answer here.