More than 382,000 Ohio college students could pay thousands of dollars more for federal student loans, if Congress fails to pass a measure that would prevent interest rates from doubling.

The current student loan rate for federally subsidized Stafford loans is set at 3.4 percent. Without action from federal lawmakers, the rate would double to 6.8 percent July 1 and impact future graduates.

Excessive student loan debt cramps the economy by preventing graduates from buying cars or houses or making other investments.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has sponsored the bill to prevent the rate hike. In Ohio, nearly 70 percent of students carry student loans at an average amount of $27,000 after four years.

If Congress does not pass legislation to keep interest rates at 3.4 percent, students could pay $1,000 a year more over the life of their loans, his office said.

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