President Obama made the last of three speeches encouraging Congress to stop a doubling of student loan interest rates, scheduled to take effect on July 1. The President visited the University of Iowa in Iowa City today; he spoke to students at the University of North Carolina and the University of Colorado-Boulder on Tuesday.
Some 7 million undergraduates relying on subsidized Stafford loans will see their interest rates rise from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.
In 2007, then-President George W. Bush signed a bill passed by the Democratically controlled Congress that lowered student loan interest rates to their current levels, with the provision that the rates would return to 6.8 percent this year.
The price tag for keeping the subsidized loans at the current low rate is about $6 billion a year.
Both chambers of Congress are looking at options to prevent the interest rate increase. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters on Tuesday he would introduce a bill "in the next 24 hours." According the Bloomberg News, the bill would put off the rate increase for one year and would be paid for by adjusting tax rules that allow some taxpayers to avoid paying Medicare payroll taxes.
On Tuesday, GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced that he also opposes the rate increase.