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Behind The Mic With Joe Mathieu: Congress Doubles College Loan Rates

By Joe Mathieu, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
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BOSTON (CBS) – Okay let’s start with a little background, because there are a few things we know for sure when it comes to this story.

College tuition keeps rising. So much that graduates are saddled with more debt than ever – an average of about $27,000 for about two-thirds of grads, according to the Project on Student Debt.

We also know that American students have struggled to keep-up with their counterparts in other nations, like China, when it comes to education prompting any number of public programs aimed at making us more competitive.

And now Congress, made up of many lawmakers who got where they were because of student loans, drops the ball.

They couldn’t come to terms on something as simple as this.

And as of midnight, rates on new federally subsidized Stafford loans officially doubled to 6.8 percent, costing students an additional $2,600 on average.

And with friends like these it’s not too hard to figure why Congressional approval ratings are barely holding above 10-percent  Less popular than a root canal.

So how did it come to this, after debating the issue for the better part of a year?

Democrats say want to keep rates where they are and Republicans want to tie long-term rates to the 10- year Treasury – kind of like a mortgage.

Both sides can’t come to terms.

Shocker.

The only good news here is that the increase may only be temporary. That’s because Democrats in the Senate will consider a one-year extension on current rates when they return from the July 4th break.

But after the way Congress handled sequestration – the automatic budget cuts – we may want to brace ourselves for more grads living in their parents’ basement before this ends.

You can follow Joe on Twitter @JoeMathieuWBZ

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