While a compromise bill on student loan rates passed the U.S. House on Wednesday with broad bipartisan support, Wisconsin Congressmen Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Ron Kind (D-WI) were among just 31 members to vote against the deal.
The deal sets undergraduate loans rates for the upcoming school year at 3.86 percent. Graduate students will borrow at a rate of about 5.4 percent. Rates would then be set each spring based on the ten-year Treasury borrowing rate and would be capped at 8.25 percent for undergraduates.
The bill lowers rates from the 6.8 percent they jumped to at the start of July, but Pocan says adjusting them based on market forces could result in a dramatic climb in the years to come.
AUDIO: Rep. Mark Pocan (:37)
Pocan, whose district includes the UW-Madison, was part of an unsuccessful push to freeze rates at 3.4 percent for the next two years. He argues that would have been more effective in keeping the cost of borrowing down while Congress looks for a more permanent solution.
Congressman Kind raised similar concerns, saying the bill “will ultimately force our students to pay even higher interest rates, putting them deeper in debt. That will hurt families trying to pay for college which puts America at a competitive disadvantage on the world stage.”
The measure now heads to President Obama, who is expected to sign the measure.