President Obama today signed the legislation that will link student loan interest rates to the market. It brings most rates down this year from what they've been in recent years, but the rates are expected to go up in the future.
At a signing ceremony, the president first thanked Republican Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, the head of the House Education and and the Workforce Committee, who started the change to market rates with a bill in the House of Representatives. He also thanked "all the members of both House and Senate from both parties that came together to design a sensible, common-sense approach."
Obama added that even with a change in interest rates that keeps them lower for now, "the cost of college remains extraordinarily high. It's out of reach for a lot of folks, and for those who do end up attending college, the amount of debt that young people are coming out of school with is a huge burden on them; it’s a burden on their families. It makes it more difficult for them to buy a home. It makes it more difficult for them if they want to start a business. It has a depressive effect on the economy overall. And we've got to do something about it."
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the leading Republican on education matters in the Senate and a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement: "This permanent, market-based plan makes loans cheaper, simpler and more certain for the 11 million students nationwide."
Alexander's office put out a press release with a summary of what the bill does and how the interest rates will work _ read it here.