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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid