Published: Jun 05, 2013 2:23 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Education Department's watchdog says the number of college students who are suspected of engaging in loan fraud has increased 82 percent since 2009.
    
The semiannual report released Wednesday comes as Congress is considering legislation to keep interest rates from doubling on students taking new subsidized Stafford student loans.
    
The Education Department's inspector general estimates the government issued $874 million in suspected fraudulent student loans since 2009.
    
The report says suspected fraudulent awards increased from almost 19,000 students to about 34,000 since 2009.
    
The Democratic-led Senate on Thursday is set to vote to keep interest rates from doubling to 6.8 percent on new Stafford loans.

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