President Barack Obama on Wednesday proposed shifting federal student loans to market-based rates rather than the current system in which interest rates are fixed by law and subject to congressional whim, the Chicago Tribune reports. The new interest-rate approach is one of several measures included in President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget proposal to contain growing student loan debt and make higher education more affordable. The president’s budget stands little chance of being enacted into law, but the proposals could help jumpstart congressional debate about reforming student loans. Obama’s plan also calls for making the rate on new federal student loans a market interest rate that would remain fixed for the life of the loan. The proposal calls for expanding repayment options so borrowers do not have to pay more than 10 percent of their discretionary income on student loan bills.

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