The net cost to taxpayers after most students pay back their loans with interest is $5.7 billion. If the rate increases, Washington will be collecting more interest from new students' loans.
For some, though, the interest rates seem arbitrary and have little to do with interest rates available for other purchases such as homes or cars.
"Burdening students with 6.8 percent loans when interest rates in the economy are at historic lows makes no sense," said Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success.
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