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.