Landrieu votes to lower student loan interest rates

By By John Guidroz / American Press

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., voted

earlier this week to support legislation that would lower student loan

interest rates

for undergraduates from 6.8 percent to 3.86 percent, resulting in

nearly $1,500 in savings for the average Louisiana student.

The Senate’s Bipartisan Student Loan

Certainty Act would lower interest rates on new loans issued on or after

July 1, affecting

more than 100,000 undergraduates statewide. The legislation would

also maintain a fixed interest rate. Annual market conditions

would determine the interest rate.

According to the measure, undergraduate loans would be capped at 8.25 percent, graduate loans at 9.5 percent and PLUS loans

at 10.5 percent.

The Senate legislation calls for a lower interest rate than the House-approved plan, which calls for a 4.31 percent rate.

Interest rates for federally subsidized Stafford loans went from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent for new loans issued in July because

federal lawmakers did not take action on the issue. Landrieu said earlier this month that she opposed the rate hike.

In a news release issued Wednesday,

Landrieu said the legislation “brings relief to Louisiana college

students and their families.”

“We are keeping student loans affordable and giving our young people the tools they need to plan for their future,” she said.

McNeese State University Student Body President Davante Lewis said that while the plan is not perfect, Landrieu’s vote brings

“relief to thousands of Louisiana college students.”

Lewis, along with students from

Louisiana State University, Loyola Law School and Southern University,

opposed the rate increase.