Obama to sign student loan bill on Friday

President Obama will sign legislation lowering interest rates on federal-backed student loans on Friday, according to the White House.

"This is a bill that passed with wide majority support on both sides of the aisle and will save millions of students an average of $1,500 on loans they take out this year," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday.

ADVERTISEMENT
The bill passed in the House on a 392-31 vote, setting most student loans at the rate of the 10-year Treasury note plus 2.05 percent. Loan rates would be capped at 8.25 percent.

Earlier this summer, Congress failed to strike a deal preventing rates from doubling from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The borrowing rates had been temporarily set at the lower level since 2007, with Congress extending it several times, the latest of which lapsed earlier this summer. When the White House and congressional negotiators first attempted to hammer out a long-term fix, they were unable to strike a deal.

But after returning from the July 4 break, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Angus King (I-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) were able to use a bill championed by House Republicans as the framework for new legislation, which then quickly moved through both chambers.

Carney said that the president would continue to work on college affordability issues in the coming months.

"Even with this important bill signed into law, much work remains to ensure college stays within reach for middle-class families and those striving to get into the middle class," Carney said.