theodp writes "Like many recent college grads, Steven Lee finds himself unemployed in one of the roughest job markets in decades and saddled with a big pile of debt — he owes about $84,000 in student loans for undergrad and grad school. But what's really got Lee angry are the high interest rates on his government-backed student loans. 'The rate for a 30-year mortgage is around 5%,' Lee said. 'Why should anyone have to pay 8.5%? The government has bailed out homeowners. It's bailed out big businesses. Why can't it also help students?' Not only that, federal student loans are the only loans in the nation that are largely non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, have no statutes of limitations, and can't be refinanced after consolidation, so Lee can forget about pulling a move out of the GM playbook. And unlike mortgages on million-dollar vacation homes, student loans have very limited tax deductability. A spokeswoman for the Department of Education blamed Congress for the rates which she conceded 'may seem high today,' but suggested that students are a credit-unworthy lot who should thank their lucky stars that rates aren't 12% or higher. Makes one long for the good-old-days of 3% student loans, doesn't it?"
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