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updated: 8/21/2012 7:53 AM

Sen. Durbin calls for passage of student loan bill

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Associated Press

There are big differences between private student loans and federal student loans. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is encouraging students to know the differences.

Durbin held a news conference Monday in Chicago to call for passage of the Know Before You Owe Act. He introduced the bill to help students understand the range of loan options before borrowing.

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Durbin says most undergrads with private loans didn't know they were eligible for safer, cheaper federal loans.

Federal student loans have fixed interest rates. They offer a range of consumer protections and favorable terms, including deferment and forbearance in times of economic hardship. They offer manageable repayment options.

Private student loans often have uncapped variable interest rates, hefty origination fees and few, if any, consumer protections.

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