If you agree with Erica, stand with President Obama and tell Congress to prevent a student loan interest hike on July 1.
A version of this post was originally featured on New Hampshire's state blog.
Today, on the 40th anniversary of the Pell Grant program, we talked to three New Hampshire college students about why Pell Grants are more important than ever in the Granite State.
Dan, a junior at UNH in Durham, put it frankly:
“The difference between Mitt Romney and President Obama couldn’t be more clear. That's the reason I got involved. You have Mitt Romney going around supporting deep education cuts, talking about abolishing the Department of Education. I don’t understand how a college student could support Mitt Romney. Literally your entire future is at stake.”
Alexis Ploss, a sophomore at Manchester Community College, recalled what the President said in his Cleveland speech on the economy:
President Obama isn’t going to let any of that happen, he wants to protect our education because he understands it’s an important part for a global world.
Support for the Pell Grant program is just one way the President fights for college affordability. Alexis explained what that’s meant in her life:
“Pell grants have been a really important aspect of my education since I started. I come from an extremely low-income family: it’s just my dad and myself, and he is permanently disabled. So finding money for school has been very difficult for me. And having that Pell grant to rely on every semester and every year has helped me so much.”
Jemmel, also a UNH Junior echoed this:
“Because of what education means to me and also what it means to my family. I’m going to college to make sure my kids don’t have to suffer and go through the financial hardships that I went through.”
If you're a student, or have been one recently, and want to get involved in the fight for college affordability, sign up to volunteer with Young Americans for Obama.
President Obama talked to a group of college students in Washington, D.C. today about why we need to pressure Congress to stop student loan rates from doubling—before the clock runs out on students and families:
There’s still 10 days for Congress to do the right thing. I understand that members of both parties say they want to get this done, and there are conversations taking place, but they haven’t done it yet. And we’ve got to keep the pressure on.
That’s where all of you come in. Over the past few months, there are so many students and parents who have been working hard to shine a light on this issue. You’ve rallied on campuses, in your communities. You’ve called, you’ve emailed, you’ve tweeted your representatives in Washington. So you’ve played your part in making sure your voice is heard and your democracy is responsive.
My main message is, as you guys embark on this day of action, I want to make sure you keep this going. Don’t stop until it’s actually done. There is nothing more powerful than millions of voices that are calling for change, and all of your voices can make a difference. So keep telling Congress to do what’s right, to get this done. Tell them now is not the time to double interest rates on your student loans. Tell them to double down on an investment in a strong and secure middle class—and that means your education. Tell them now is the time to double down on an America where everybody who works hard has a fair shot at success.
Make your voice heard: Use the hashtag #DontDoubleMyRate on Twitter to tell Congress to keep student loan rates from rising.
A version of this was posted June 21 on the national blog.
President Obama visited students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, yesterday to talk about why Congress needs to act now to keep student loan interest rates from rising:
If Congress doesn’t act by the end of this month, by July 1st, interest rates on federal student loans will double overnight. That means the average student with those loans—including 8,000 students right here at UNLV—will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt. That’s like a $1,000 tax hike for more than 7 million students. How many people can afford to pay an extra $1,000 if you're a student just because Congress can’t get its act together? That makes no sense. This is a no-brainer.
There are folks on the other side who are coming up with all sorts of reasons why we should just go ahead and let these rates double. One of them compared these student loans to a “stage 3 cancer of socialism.” I don't know what that means exactly. My grandfather went to school on the G.I. Bill. There's a long tradition of us helping people get a good education, because we know that it makes everybody richer. It makes our entire country more competitive and stronger.
Some of these folks in Congress, they were saying we're just talking about student loans to distract from the economy. I guess they don't get this is the economy. Helping you get the skills that businesses are looking for, that's one of the best things we can do for the economy. Making college affordable, that's one of the best things we can do for the economy. Putting opportunity within the reach of everybody, no matter what you look like or where you come from, that’s what America is about.
Tell Congress that keeping college affordable matters to you: Use the hashtag #DontDoubleMyRate on Twitter.
A version of this was posted June 7 on the national blog.
“Coming from a middle-class family with an older sibling already in college, I have to pay for most of my own education through scholarships, grants and loans.
“I took out Stafford Loans for one simple reason: They are the most affordable! They filled the gap after my scholarships and grants, and I’m happy to say that I was able to avoid high-interest private loans. Lower interest rates, combined with the President’s plan for student loan reform, mean I can pay them off in a reasonable amount of time.
“It’s clear that President Obama has the concerns of real students in mind. Education should always be an affordable right, not an expensive privilege.”
“Go get a good education. Because if you lose everything, no one can ever take your knowledge or degree away from you.”—Words of wisdom from Tanisha’s father.
With student loan debt and the cost of tuition rising, getting a good education is becoming increasingly difficult. President Obama is committed to keeping college affordable, but he needs the support of students across the country. Join us Thursday for a National Campus Leaders Call with First Lady Michelle Obama to see how you can stay involved this summer.
For the first time ever, Americans owe more on student loans than on credit cards: The total amount of student loan debt in the United States is closing in on $1 trillion. And, if Congress doesn’t act, student loan interest rates will double this summer.
President Obama has made it clear to Congress that we can’t afford to let that happen. As a reminder of what’s at stake, we put together this student loan counter, so you can see the debt add up in real time.
After you take a look, stand with President Obama in making college more affordable.
As the Senate prepares to discuss extending the current rate on student loans, here’s a friendly reminder from President Obama:
Say you stand with President Obama’s efforts to help make college affordable. Add your name today.
“The number one reason I support President Obama is his commitment to making college more accessible for everyone,” says Ali, a 21-year-old student from Orlando, Florida.
At the time Ali graduated high school, his family was struggling to afford the mortgage payments to keep their home. Eventually he was living on his own, working long hours to support himself while keeping up with classes. When Ali found out that he qualified for the federal Pell Grant program, he knew it was exactly the leg up he needed to keep going.
“My concern was my education. I had worked hard to get into the University of Central Florida, and I didn’t want to quit. What I’ve learned in school has been mind-blowing and eye-opening. I would be less of who I am without learning these things—it’s shaped me.”
Because of the Pell Grant program, Ali is able to keep working part time and still take classes at UCF. When he finishes school, Ali hopes to use his degree in political science and sociology to work for a nonprofit in his home state.
“All I want to be able to do is give back to the central Florida community. I’ve grown up here all my life, these are the people I want to be helping at the end of the day.”
President Obama has doubled funding for the federal Pell Grant program, and this morning in Virginia he again called on Congress to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling, so more people can have a fair shot at a higher education. Add your name to stand with him.
Mitt Romney is paying lip service to Americans with student loans, but his policies would make college more expensive.
There is a clear difference between President Obama and Mitt Romney when it comes to making college affordable.