Knoxville News Sentinel: Alexander pushes amendment to lower student loan rates

Posted on March 24, 2010

WASHINGTON — Sen. Lamar Alexander today proposed an amendment on the Senate floor that would reduce interest rates on student loans by 1.5 percentage points. A vote on the amendment is expected later today.

Alexander said his amendment to legislation pending in the Senate authorizing the federal government to take over student lending would save the average Tennessee student up to $1,800 in interest over 10 years.

During debate on the Health Care Reconciliation bill that includes language to eliminate the current student loan system and replace it with direct lending through the U.S. Department of Education, Alexander offered a motion that would return the reconciliation bill to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and require it to lower interest rates for student loans from 6.8 percent to 5.3 percent.

“Washington will overcharge 19 million students to help pay for the health care bill. According to the most recent Congressional Budget Office estimates, about $8.7 billion of the overcharged money, over the next 10 years, is going to go to pay for the health care bill. But Tennessee students aren’t Wall Street financiers,” Alexander said in a statement. “Washington is going to overcharge a single mom going to school in Tennessee who has a job but wants a better job — to pay for health care ….”

The Tennessee Republican said that more than 200,000 Tennessee students will be overcharged $1,700 to $1,800 over the life of their 10-year student loans to pay for health care and other government programs.