WASHINGTON, July 23 -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today said deceptive claims by the White House mask a big boost in college loan interest rates that would be in store for students and parents under a White House-backed bill now before the Senate.
"The White House is being disingenuous and is trying to sweep under the rug big increases in interest rates for students and parents in the near future," Sanders said. "Because college costs are out of control and interest rates are rising, students are leaving college deep in debt or in some cases choosing not to continue their education because they cannot afford it," Sanders added.
A member of the Senate education committee, Sanders disputed the White House report released today. He said the White House glossed over Congressional Budget Office projections that interest rates would hit 7.25 percent for undergraduate loans in five years. By 2018, graduate loans would hit 8.8 percent and parents would be charged 9.8 percent on college loans, according to the analysis by the non-partisan agency that provides economic data for Congress.
The senator questioned why a Democratic White House and Democratic majority in the Senate would go along with legislation patterned after a bill passed by the very conservative Republican-run House of Representatives. "During the campaign we told the American people that we were going to fight for working families and the middle class. Let's keep our promises," Sanders said.
The Senate is expected to vote this week on the student loan proposal. Sanders has proposed an amendment that would place a two-year limit on the deal. Adding a so-called sunset provision would give Congress time to focus on ways to make college more affordable before economists expect the significant interest rate increases to take effect.