Student loan rates double without Congress' action

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By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — College students' interest rates are at the mercy of Congress.

The interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans doubled to 6.8 percent Monday and could stay there unless Congress fulfills its pledge to restore lower rates when it returns from the Fourth of July holiday.

Lawmakers from both parties, as well as the White House, vowed to lower that rate before students start signing loan documents this fall.

Efforts to keep interest rates from doubling on new subsidized Stafford loans fell apart last week amid partisan wrangling in the Senate. Each political party tried to blame the other for the hike.

If an agreement remains elusive, Congress' Joint Economic Committee estimates the cost passed to students would be about $2,600.

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