Polk County Florida Dems Blog

Weekly Address Calling On Congress To Prevent Student Interest Rates From Doubling

Sun, Apr 22, 2012 - 06:21 AM

in U.S. Politics

WASHINGTON, DCmdashIn this weekrsquos address, President Obama called on Congress to act before student loan interest rates double for more than 7.4 million students, adding an average of 1000 to their debt. Having a college education has never been more important, but itrsquos also never been more expensive.nbsp While the Obama administration has taken historic steps to provide Americans with a fair shot at an affordable college education, Republicans in Congress have instead prioritized huge new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.nbsp Congress has a chance to take action on what should be an area of bipartisan agreement to prevent this unnecessary and damaging increase in interest rates and give our young people a chance to succeed in the jobs of today and tomorrow. Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House Saturday, April 21, 2012 Hi.nbsp This week, I got the chance to sit down with some impressive students at Lorain County Community College in Ohio.nbsp One of them was a woman named Andrea Ashley.nbsp Two years ago, Andrea lost her job as an HR analyst.nbsp Today, shersquos getting certified in the fastgrowing field of electronic medical records.nbsp Before enrolling at Lorain, Andrea told me she was looking everywhere trying to find a new job.nbsp But without a degree, she said that nobody would hire her. Andrearsquos story isnrsquot unique.nbsp Irsquove met so many Americans who are out there pounding the pavement looking for work only to discover that they need new skills.nbsp And Irsquove met a lot of employers who are looking for workers, but canrsquot find ones with the skills theyrsquore looking for. So we should be doing everything we can to put higher education within reach for every American ndash because at a time when the unemployment rate for Americans with at least a college degree is about half the national average, itrsquos never been more important.nbsp But herersquos the thing itrsquos also never been more expensive.nbsp Students who take out loans to pay for college graduate owing an average of 25,000.nbsp For the first time, Americans owe more debt on their student loans than they do on their credit cards.nbsp And for many working families, the idea of owing that much money means that higher education is simply out of reach for their children. In America, higher education cannot be a luxury.nbsp Itrsquos an economic imperative that every family must be able to afford.nbsp Thatrsquos why next week Irsquoll be visiting colleges across the country, talking to students about how we can make higher education more affordable ndash and whatrsquos at stake right now if Congress doesnrsquot do something about it.nbsp You see, if Congress doesnrsquot act, on July 1st interest rates on some student loans will double.nbsp Nearly seven and half million students will end up owing more on their loan payments.nbsp That would be a tremendous blow.nbsp And itrsquos completely preventable.nbsp This issue didnrsquot come out of nowhere.nbsp For some time now, Irsquove been calling on Congress to take steps to make higher education more affordable ndash to prevent these interest rates from doubling, to extend the tuition tax credit that has saved middleclass families millions of dollars, and to double the number of workstudy jobs over the next five years. Instead, over the past few years, Republicans in Congress have voted against new ways to make college more affordable for middleclass families, and voted for huge new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires ndash tax cuts that would have to be paid for by cutting things like education and jobtraining programs that give students new opportunities to work and succeed. We cannot just cut our way to prosperity.nbsp Making it harder for our young people to afford higher education and earn their degrees is nothing more than cutting our own future off at the knees.nbsp Congress needs to keep interest rates on student loans from doubling, and they need to do it now. This is a question of values.nbsp We cannot let America become a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of people struggle to get by.nbsp Wersquove got to build an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.nbsp Thatrsquos how the middle class gets stronger.nbsp Thatrsquos an economy thatrsquos built to last.nbsp And Irsquom not only going to take that case to college campuses next week ndash Irsquom going to take it to every part of the country this year.nbsp Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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