Connect to share and comment

Congress approves student loan deal

The agreement was reached days before the July 1 deadline, when interest rates were set to double.

House votes to extend student loans at health care expense april 2012Enlarge
A young man holds a sign during an Occupy Wall Street rally against the high cost of college tuitions April 25, 2012 in New York. Scores of students and former students gathered to complain about the high cost of tuitions and college loans. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Congress on Friday overwhelmingly passed legislation that will keep student loan interest rates from doubling after July 1.

The bill will keep loan rates at 3.4 percent for another year, rather than rising to 6.8 percent. The change is estimated to help more than 7 million students, saving them an average of $1,000 on their loan, the Washington Post reported.

More from GlobalPost: US Senate reaches deal on student loans

Lawmakers have been fighting over different proposals for months. Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced they had reached a deal over how to pay for the legislation's $6 billion price tag.

Leaders from both parties agreed to raise premiums for federal pension insurance to keep interest rates low, according to the Washington Post.

More from GlobalPost: Americans owe more for students loans than cards, credit cards

The bill was attached to a $120 billion, 27-month bill to fund highway projects, NBC News reported.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said the highway bill would save about 1.8 million jobs by keeping aid for highway and transit construction flowing to states and create another 1 million jobs by using federal loan guarantees to leverage private sector investment in infrastructure projects, The Associated Press reported.

As part of negotiations, House Republicans agreed to give up demands that the bill include a measure to move the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline forward.

The flood of legislation comes as lawmakers scramble to finish their work before the Fourth of July holiday.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120629/congress-approves-student-loan-deal