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Obama advocates for college affordability

By Stephen Underwood
On April 25, 2012

President Barack Obama has been on the move visiting college campuses in an attempt to reach out to young voters. In a three state stop, Obama visited UNC-Chapel Hill, and the University of Colorado at Boulder, yesterday. The President also plans to talk to students at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Obama's main message is to address students about the rising costs of student loans and interest rates.

President Obama also reached out to college reporters, yesterday. After leaving the UNC campus, the President boarded Air Force One and had a conference call with college reporters across the country. In an attempt to make sure the message gets out and that students raise their voices about the rising interest rates concerning student loans, college reporters had the opportunity to ask questions and listen in.

Obama would speak on the rising concerns of college affordibility and attainability. The President would address issues such as student loans, rising interest rates, and student debt.

"7.4 million students with federal student loans could see their interest rates double on July 1st unless Congress steps up and does what it needs to do. .. I've always believed that we should be doing everything we can to help put higher education within reach for every single American student -- because the unemployment rate for Americans with at least a college degree is about half the national average," Obama said.

The President would point to the average incurring amount college students owe after graduating as an indicator of alarm. Revealing that more American's cannot afford to go to college due to rising costs and families left with more debt tied into student loans than credit cards.

"Students who take out loans to pay for college graduate owing an average of $25,000 a year...For a lot of working families, the idea of owing that much money means higher education is simply out of reach for their children. And for the first time now we've got Americans owing more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards," Obama said.

The President would also point to the work that's been done in helping college remain affordable to students. Obama would address efforts to extend Pell grants, grant tax credits to middle class families, and extend healthcare coverage for the young.

"We've already taken some important steps to make college more affordable. So, for example, we extended Pell grants to 3 million more students, and we signed a tax credit worth up to $10,000 to help middle-class families cover the cost of tuition. We've eliminated a major expense for young people by allowing young adults to stay on their parent's health insurance plans until they're 26," Obama said.

The President would end on making sure that students voice their concerns over the proposal to raise interest rates on student loans to members of Congress. Obama encouraged student activism in keeping college affordable and keeping the promise of American higher education an attainable reality.

"Let Congress know that they need to do the right thing...Because we don't want Congress to double the interest rates on so many students. We need to reward hard work and responsibility. And part of that is keeping interest rates on student loans low so more Americans get a fair shot at an affordable college education, the skills they need to find a good job, and a clear path to the middle class that's not blocked by a mountain of debt." 

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