My parents and my wife’s parents didn’t just “wish” we would pursue higher education. They expected it of us. And though they showered us with love and strong values, they didn’t have the financial means to pay for us to attend college and law school. So with the help of federal student loans and grants, we were able to meet our parents’ hopes and expectations. And though we were only in school for seven years, it took many years to pay off those loans. I share this experience with President Obama.
He and the First Lady know what it’s like to be burdened by college debt. That ability to relate to everyday Americans is why President Obama has been a staunch advocate for students since the day he took office. The President understands that creating an America built to last means making serious investments in the future of our youth. But unless Congress acts before July 1, interest rates on federal loans will double for more than 7.4 million students. 1.5 million African-American students will be so impacted.
The effects of this hike will be devastating. In 2010, graduates who took out loans left college owing an average of over $25,000. With a heightened interest rate, an additional $1,000 in debt will be acquired by these students over the life of their loans. That means $1.5 billion transferred out of the African-American community. The President used his State of the Union address to call on Congress to present legislation that would stop this increase, and he's doing so again now.
Throughout his first term, President Obama has been committed to increasing access to higher education. He understands that the college doors should be open to all, not just those who were born in a specific zip code. It is because of this commitment that he has doubled the amount of Pell Grants and fought for a multi-billion dollar investment in HBCUs and minority-serving institutions.
The President has stood steadfastly with us. Now we must stand with him and challenge Congress to pass legislation before student loan interest rates double.
Sign on now to stand with President Obama.