student loan rates double

The interest rate on government-backed student loans is going to jump from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent Monday.

Republicans, Democrats and the Obama administration could not agree on a plan to keep it from happening. Lawmakers say a deal is still possible after the July 4 recess. But if they don’t agree on a plan soon, 7 million students expected to take out new Stafford loans could be stuck with a much bigger bill when they start paying the money back.

It has been one of the more heated debates in Washington this year.

Democrats have sought to keep interest on Stafford loans low, saying poor and middle class students need the help to get a college education. Republicans have proposed linking student loans to the financial markets instead of letting Congress set federal lending rates. President Obama included a variation of that market-based approach in the budget he sent to Congress earlier this year, leaving his fellow Democrats trying to block his efforts.

“There is no deal on student loans that can pass the Senate because Republicans continue to insist that we reduce the deficit on the backs of students and middle-class families, instead of closing tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and big corporations,” Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Reid, told.