WASHINGTON – Millions of student loan borrowers will be eligible to lower their payments and consolidate their loans under a plan President Barack Obama intends to announce Wednesday, the White House said.
Obama will use his executive authority to provide student loan relief in two ways.
First, he will accelerate a measure passed by Congress that reduces the maximum repayment on student loans from 15 percent of discretionary income annually to 10 percent. The White House wants it to go into effect in 2012, instead of 2014. In addition, the White House says the remaining debt would be forgiven after 20 years, instead of 25. About 1.6 million borrowers could be affected.
Second, he will allow borrowers who have loans from both the Family Education Loan Program and a direct loan from the government to consolidate them into one loan. The consolidated loan would be up to a half percentage point less. This could affect 5.8 million more borrowers.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters on a conference call that the changes could save some borrowers hundreds of dollars a month.
“These are real savings that will help these graduates get started in their careers and help them make ends meet,” Duncan said.
Obama is expected to unveil his plan at a stop in Denver. The White House said the changes will carry no additional costs to taxpayers. More