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Hill bargainers: Student loan deal seems near

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate aides from both parties say a deal seems in sight to avert a doubling of student loan interest rates on July 1.

If finalized and approved by Congress next week, the agreement would bring an end to an election-year battle. President Barack Obama is trying to cast Republicans as less sympathetic to the huge debts that burden many college students.

GOP leaders have backed the effort to extend the current 3.4 percent interest rate on Stafford subsidized loans for undergraduates. The dispute has been over how to pay the $6 billion price tag.

Officials say the money seems likely to come from charging companies more to insure pensions, limiting tax deductions firms take for pension contributions, and limiting undergraduates' federal loan subsidies to six years.

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