By Jennifer Liberto, CNNMoney
Washington (CNNMoney) - The House on Wednesday approved a bipartisan that ensures lower interest rates on loans for students heading to college this fall.
Members of the House voted 392 to 31 to lower rates for undergraduates taking out government loans this school year to 3.86% - cheaper than the 6.8% interest rate that kicked in on July 1. The new rates would be retroactive and apply to loans taken out after July 1.
The bill, which passed the Senate last week, will now go to the President Obama's desk to be signed into law.
It has provisions for rates to go higher in coming years.
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Washington (CNNMoney) –The Senate on Wednesday approved a bipartisan deal that ensures lower interest rates on loans for students heading to college this fall.
Senators voted 81 to 18 to lower interest rates for undergraduates taking out government loans this school year to 3.86% - cheaper than the 6.8% interest rate that kicked in on July 1. The new rates would be retroactive and apply to loans taken out after July 1.
However, the bill has provisions for rates to go higher in coming years. It is expected to become law, with support from the White House and the House of Representatives, which will likely take up the bill in coming days.
"This fall, all undergraduates, subsidized or unsubsidized, would only have to pay 3.86% interest rate for the life of the loan," said Sen. Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, whose support was key to a Washington deal. "That means real savings for borrowers."
It doesn't apply to loans that students get from private lenders. It only affects Stafford loans, which are made by the U.S. government to help finance a college education. Students can apply through their university financial aid office. The loans are limited to no more than $5,500, for a mix of subsidized and unsubsidized loans for the freshmen year and $7,500 for juniors and above.
On July 1, the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans doubled from 3.4% to 6.8%.
Washington (CNNMoney) - Students preparing to take subsidized government loans will see their interest rates double to 6.8% from current levels, starting Monday, July 1.
But hope isn't lost yet. Lawmakers are working hard behind the scenes trying to strike a deal to save the 7 million college students who are slated to take the subsidized federal Stafford loans this year.
Senate Democratic leaders are throwing their weight behind a bill that would extend the 3.4% rates for another year, just as Congress did last year.
House Republicans have said they'd prefer a longer term solution, like the one they passed back in April to keep rates low for now but rise along with market rates in the future.
Students are being told to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
"We're advising our schools to tell students that their subsidized Stafford interest rates are going to be 6.8% on July 1," said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
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