WASHINGTON, DC - The cost of college loans will double Monday for seven million students and their families.
Congress started their holiday break last Friday without doing anything about it. While they can fix it when they return to the Hill, there's no guarantee they will. Congress could make the change "retroactive" to July 1 so students won't pay more.
Interest rates on Stafford loans rise from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent Monday. So, a student who borrows $27,000 to start college this fall will pay an extra $4,000 over the life of the loan.
Most Democrats want to continue the loans at the old, lower rate. Some Republicans want to tie them to the cost of government borrowing, making rates higher.
A year ago during election season, the two parties extended the rates for another year.
A month ago, 51 senators voted to keep the rates where they are, but they needed 60 votes to cut off debate and they fell short. A Republican plan fell short too.
Republicans say we need to raise the loan rate to reduce the federal deficit. They say doubling the rates would save a billion dollars. Democrats say we could save even more money by ending breaks for millionaires, and Republicans won't do that.
The $1 billion in loan savings is dwarfed by the extra $46 billion senators voted last week to spend on border security.