THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION. FEBRUARY 11, 2013. Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and the Workforce on Monday sent a letter to President Obama asking him to outline a long-term fix on student-loan interest rates that goes beyond the temporary one-year freeze enacted by Congress last summer. That extension, passed in June after months of disagreement, kept the interest rate on federally subsidized loans to undergraduates at 3.4 percent until July of this year. Even though Republicans and Democrats agreed about extending that rate, they were at odds for months over how to pay for it.
“As the June 30 deadline nears, it is time for us to work together on a sustainable solution to ensure students have the certainty they need to plan for the cost of attending college,” the letter states. Its signatories said they “support resolving the interest-rate cliff by moving toward a market-based interest rate for Stafford loans in a fiscally responsible manner.” The letter asks Mr. Obama to present an outline of the proposal that will be included in his budget request for the 2014 fiscal year, which it said should provide a long-term fix and the “requisite offsets to ensure taxpayers will not be forced to bear the burden of fixing this problem.”