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Stop Federal Student Loan Interest Rates from Doubling on July 1

President Obama believes keeping college within reach is key to growing our economy. We need to keep interest rates on federal student loans low to make sure more Americans get a fair shot at an affordable college education and the skills they need to find a good job.

Nationwide student-loan debt, which already outpaces credit card debt, is estimated to hit $1 trillion today. The U.S. Senate voted today on whether federal student-loan interest rates should double on July 1, which would cost more than 7 million students an extra $1,000. It was blocked by a minority of Republican senators who object to closing business tax loopholes.

  • The outcome of that vote was disappointing, but it’s not too late. Congress still has time to act. But the clock is ticking.
  • This issue is personal for President Obama: Both he and the First Lady went to college on loans and worked hard to pay them off, finally doing so only in 2004, a year before the President became a U.S. Senator.

Keeping college affordable is a critical part of the President’s blueprint for an economy that’s built to last – one that prepares Americans for the jobs of the future, restores middle-class security, and rewards hard work and responsibility.

President Obama has a strong record of helping America’s students pay for college.

  • He expanded Pell Grants, helping nearly 10 million students afford college – almost 4 million more than when he took office.
  • He fought for a college tax credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college.
  • He capped federal income-based student loan payments at 10 percent of monthly income. As soon as this year, that will help 1.6 million students manage their monthly payments and pursue the career of their dreams.

Mitt Romney is campaigning at a community college today, hoping no one notices the unprecedented cuts he made to higher education and his promises to make even more if elected.

  • Romney would govern the country the same way he did Massachusetts, where as governor he made record cuts to higher education programs.
  • These cuts were particularly burdensome for community colleges, where in 2006 tuition was 59 percent higher than the national average.
  • Romney told a student worried about affording college that he should just “shop around.”

Romney’s policies don’t just hurt students and working families; they hurt our ability to grow our economy.

  • The Romney-Ryan budget locks in the doubling of student loan interest rates, and cuts Pell Grants and other education programs that help millions of young Americans afford college. Romney would also eliminate the American Opportunity Tax Credit entirely.
  • Romney privately tells his high-dollar donors that he would severely shrink the Department of Education, which would mean cutting critical student aid programs that millions of Americans rely on to send their children to college.

Yesterday Romney claimed that the President wants to give students something for free. You don’t have to be a finance executive to know that loans, by definition, aren’t free. This isn’t about anyone getting anything for free. It’s about everyone getting the opportunity to get an education and get ahead.