US President Barack Obama [official profile] signed legislation [HR 4348, PDF] on Friday that prevents the interest rate on student loans from increasing and maintains jobs on infrastructure and transportation projects nationwide. The bill keeps the interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans from doubling [C-SPAN report] from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, as it was scheduled to do absent Congressional action. The bill also allowed [AP report] more than $100 billion over 27 months to be spent on mass transit, highway and other transportation projects. Funding for these projects was set to expire on June 30. The bill passed 373-52 in the House and 74-19 in the Senate [roll call votes] at the end of June.
President Obama has advocated for student loan reform during his presidency. In March 2010 Obama signed into law [JURIST report] a bill that removed banks and private lenders as providers for federal student loans and place that responsibility with the government. Obama declared that this reform would make the student loan system work for students rather than for banks and other lenders. Political opponents have criticized [NYT report] the student loan legislation as being harmful to the economy.