A bipartisan group of senators reached a deal Wednesday night to lower interest rates on federal loans for students, rates that doubled in July after Congress failed to take action when they expired. The new deal, revealed by a Democratic source, will return rates to their previous level until 2015, when they will begin to climb slightly. Rates are linked to financial markets, but the deal sets limits on how high they can go: undergraduates will never pay more than 8.25 percent, while graduate students have a ceiling of 9.5 percent and parents 10.5 percent. A vote on the deal could happen as early as Thursday, but may be delayed until next week.
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