Administration moves to create cutoff for student loan help

The White House finished reviewing a proposed rule by the Department of Education on Thursday that would cap federal assistance to student loans after a borrower has been enrolled in classes for a certain amount of time.

The rule implements legislation that Congress passed last year. Among the new rules, new borrowers who take out federally subsidized Stafford loans after July 1, 2013, would only have “150 percent of the published time of the academic program” to receive government assistance.

A student borrower in a four-year Bachelor’s degree program, for example, would be eligible for loan subsidies for 6 years, while individuals in a one-year certificate program would have a year and a half of federal help. After that time, their interest rates would rise and they would be unable to take out any additional Stafford loans.

Student loan debt is the largest form of consumer debt outside of mortgages, coming in at $996 billion, according to Federal Reserve data. Individuals under the age of 30 hold one-third of that debt.