Senator John Boozman of Arkansas says Congress should reach a bipartisan solution to lowering student loan interest rates by tying them to U.S. Treasury rates, which are now at historic lows.
After interest rates for subsidized Stafford student loans doubled last week, Congress so far has not been able to reach an agreement to keep rates low for students applying for aid for the upcoming fall semester.
Boozman says tying rates to financial markets would be a better long term solution than a temporary extension of the loan rate subsidy.
“The bill that I support right now that has wide bipartisan support would use the very low 10-year Treasury notes and then would add 1.85% which is really the cost of servicing the loans, defaults, things like that. Add those two together and that would be about 3.66%, which would be locked in from now on,” he says.
Critics of that bill worry that under the plan students who apply for loans in the future may have to pay more if the interest rates on the Treasury notes begin to increase.
Senator Boozman also recently concluded a trip to the Middle East where he toured Jordan and Turkey. He visited troops in Afghanistan where says the U.S. must ensure a stable transition as American forces withdraw from the region.
Regarding Syria, he says the U.S. must respond to the burgeoning refugee population that conflict has caused.
“One thing that we do need to do that I learned bein in Jordan and Turkey firsthand visiting a refugee camp, we really do need to help with the refugees. There’s so many right now that if the international community doesn’t step forward, there’s a real risk of destabilizing these countries, particularly Jordan,” he says.
Boozman also says the U.S. must tread carefully in relations with Egypt, so that a democratic, constitutional government can become a reality.