U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday signed into law a bill offering relief to millions of American college students. The measure will keep the interest rate for subsidized federal loans at 3.4 percent.
The interest rate was set to double in coming months, meaning the law will save roughly 7.4 million college students from paying an extra $1,000 on each loan they take out.
The bill was passed without too much opposition from congressional Republicans. Obama said he hoped this bipartisan spirit spills over into the next phase of congressional discussions on the economy, according to the Associated Press.
Obama has targeted student-loan relief for months in an effort to reach out to the younger political base that helped elect him in 2008. With college tuition rising faster every semester, many students feel there must be some reform in the way that tuition and student loans are handled. To them, the new law represents a start in addressing those concerns.
There's no excuse for inaction when there are so many Americans still trying to get back on their feet, Obama said.
The new law also has profound implications for the transportation industry. It includes provisions to spend $100 billion on creating mass-transit systems and extending programs for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The programs would have expired within a month.
Obama, who signed the legislation after a campaign swing through Ohio and Pennsylvania, said he hopes the measure will make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans.