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File photo of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Republican higher education bill clears first hurdle

WASHINGTON — A Republican bill that would eliminate key loan subsidies for college students and give a boost to for-profit colleges has passed the first major hurdle in the House of Representatives.

The bill is a rewrite of the nation’s main law governing higher education. It passed the House Committee on Education and the Workforce late Tuesday after nearly 10 hours of debate.

The legislation would eliminate the interest subsidy for loans received by about 6 million students. The American Council of Education says it would have the effect of increasing students’ interest payments by 45 percent for a four-year degree.

The bill also would eliminate Obama-era regulations that protect students who are defrauded by for-profits colleges.

The Senate is now beginning to work on its own version of the bill.