California students respond to college loan rate hike

UC Irvine senior Melissa Gamble.
UC Irvine senior Melissa Gamble.

The U.S. Senate today defeated a White House-backed proposal would have restored 3.4 percent interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans for one more year.

The failed stopgap measure was designed to give lawmakers time to take up comprehensive college affordability legislation.

Because the Senate failed to act, those interest rates on new loans doubled to 6.8 percent on July 1st.

Without congressional action in the coming weeks, the increase could mean an extra $2,600 for an average student returning to campus this fall, according to Congress’ Joint Economic Committee.

Tom Udall, a Democratic Senator from New Mexico, said after the vote, “Today, we failed. And our nation’s students pay the cost of that failure.”

KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis discussed the Senate vote with Melissa Gamble, a senior at UC-Irvine and officer with the UC Students Association.