President Obama will surround himself with college students at the White House on Friday and warn that the cost of student loans is about to go up.
Interest rates on government-backed college loans are set to double July 1 — unless Congress agrees on a fix before then. Obama has threatened to veto a House-passed bill that would let the cost of student loans go up and down with the market.
If the alarm bells over rising student loan rates sound familiar, that’s because the same thing happened last year. Back then, the president went on a barnstorming tour of college campuses, warning that a doubling of interest rates would cost the average student borrower $1,000 for each year of college over the life of his loan.
“I’ll do a quick poll. This may be unscientific,” he said. “How many people can afford to pay an extra $1,000 right now?”
Eventually, Congress agreed to keep rates where they were — at 3.4 percent for one more year. That year is almost up, and students again face the prospect of rates doubling to 6.8 percent July 1. Obama is urging Congress on Friday to block that increase.