News / USA

Obama Announces Changes to Ease Student Loan Burdens

President Barack Obama outlines a plan to allow millions of student loan recipients to lower their payments and consolidate their loans to students and faculty at Auraria Events Center in Denver, October 26, 2011.
President Barack Obama outlines a plan to allow millions of student loan recipients to lower their payments and consolidate their loans to students and faculty at Auraria Events Center in Denver, October 26, 2011.

President Barack Obama announced Wednesday steps aimed at making it easier for U.S. college students to pay off their education loans.   In announcing the actions, the president pointed to a new report detailing the continuing rise in the cost of higher education in the United States.

In his remarks at the University of Colorado at Denver, the president used a personal example and some humor to illustrate the pressures that sharply rising education costs place on Americans.

The president recalled the burden that he and his wife Michelle struggled with in paying off about $120,000 in student loans after they graduated from law school.

"We combined and got poorer together. We combined our liabilities not our assets. So we were paying more on our student loans than we paid on our mortgage each month," he said.

Obama pointed to a new report from the College Board showing that the average tuition at private colleges in the United States went up by more than 4 percent - 8.3 percent at four-year public colleges - during the past year. That's faster than inflation and income growth.

One step the president announced will allow college graduates enrolled in an existing government program to pay back student loans at a maximum rate equal to 10 percent of their disposable income, rather than 15 percent, and be eligible for debt forgiveness on their remaining debt in 20 years instead of 25.

Another rule change would help students consolidate multiple loans into one federally-backed loan at a lower interest rate, allowing them to save more money.  

Obama said this will potentially help 1.6 million students and graduates, provide students with more certainty, and help boost the economy.

"Because you will have some certainty, knowing that is only a certain percentage of your income that is going to pay off your student loans, that means you will be more confident and comfortable to buy a house or save for retirement. And that will give our economy a boost when it desperately needs it," said the president.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the changes will help students and graduates in the current difficult economic environment.

"These are changes that will make a big difference in the lives of college students as well as recent graduates, who are entering one of the toughest job markets in recent memory," said Duncan.

But critics note that the changes will affect a fraction of those who have borrowed to pay for their education, will apply only to federal college loans, and that current borrowers would not be eligible for adjustments.

The changes are the third in a series of executive orders President Obama is issuing that are designed to bypass opposition by Republicans in Congress to his economic and jobs proposals.

"I intend to do everything in my power right now to act on behalf of the American people - with or without Congress," said Obama.

Earlier this week, President Obama announced a plan to make it easier for Americans with federally-backed mortgages to refinance their home loans and save money, and another to encourage businesses to hire returning military veterans.

Republican congressional leaders have responded to Obama's "we can't wait for Congress" campaign by accusing the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate of blocking Republican bills they say would do more to help the economy.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid