Student loan rates will double without congressional action

By Matt Porter

May 16, 2013 Updated May 17, 2013 at 12:46 AM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) College students could see their federal student loan interest rates double if Congress doesn't act before July 1.

Right now, the rate is 3.4 percent for Federal Stafford loans. It has been reduced since 2007.

But the loan rate is set to revert back to its original 6.8 percent unless Congress acts.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he is pushing for a continued federal freeze on the interest rate as part of the Student Loan Affordability Act of 2013.

He said the loans help thousands of students afford college tuition across the country.

"These days college is becoming more and more important to many many young people, and yet college is so expensive that a good number of them don't go," Schumer said. "Either they don't go at all, or they don't go to the college of their choice because it's too expensive."

The increase could drive up costs to an additional $3,800 over a 10-year period.

Schumer proposes paying for the loans by eliminating oil subsidies and raising taxes on the wealthy.

More than 32,000 students use Stafford loans in the Southern Tier.