Associated Press

On July 1, interest rates on Stafford student loans doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent because Congress could not come to an agreement before the July 1 deadline.

According to a New York Times editorial, "This increase in costs comes at a time when college debt has already reached record levels, damaging the economy and hobbling young graduates. It also draws attention to the fact that the federal government is making quite a lot of money from the loan program. An analysis by the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the new, higher rate would earn the government about $184 billion over the next decade, after taking into account program costs, including potential defaults."

But Wednesday, by an 81-18 vote, the Senate approved a bill to tie federal college loan rates to financial markets and offer borrowers lower rates this fall, essentially rolling back the July 1 interest rate hike. The bill is expected to gain approval from both the GOP-controlled House and President Obama.

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