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Date
October 27, 2011

College Loans

Should the government help students pay back their college debt?
Transcript

Shelby: How many of you plan on going to college? Well, if you are like most, you might be worried about the costs. That is why President Obama is proposing a new plan to help students pay back loans.

You can’t see it when you look around college campuses these days, but it’s here alright; fear over rising student loan debt.

College student: I’m concerned about that to the point where I think about that every day.

College student: Well, I am very concerned, yes, about how to pay off my debt after graduating.

College student: Yeah. Very scary.

Shelby: The numbers are grim. Tuition and fees at America’s public colleges went up again. This year, they rose more than 8%. Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt.

More than 600,000 people have signed a petition calling on President Obama and Congress to forgive all student loans. The White House is taking notice.

President Obama: I want us to win the future. That means we should be doing everything we can to put a college education in reach for every American.

Shelby: President Obama outlined a plan to do that on Wednesday. It allows some people who don’t make a lot of money to pay less per month on their student loans. After twenty years, any remaining debt will be forgiven, meaning they would owe nothing at that point. And for others, it will help them combine their student loans into one loan, and lower their interest rate – that is the fee the bank charges for the loan.

Graduate student Jason Diaz says he will take the help, but wonders if it will mean higher taxes.

Jason Diaz: It’s great for me, but at the same time it could hurt me because where are they getting that money from?

Shelby: The president says the plan won’t cost taxpayers anything. He will pay for it with interest earned from people who restructure their loans. But the new plan won’t help everyone.

College student: I’m in tens of thousands right now, so I definitely have a long way to go.

Shelby: Only new borrowers are eligible. So, those who already have loans are still out of luck.

The student loan plan is one of several new White House proposals that won’t require approval from Congress. The president argues the nation and the economy can’t wait for lawmakers to act.

Obama: Over the last month, I have been hammering at Congress to see if they could actually do something for folks who are hurting out here.

“Yeah. We did hear that president, he could not wait. This country cannot wait for him to get off campaign trail.”

Shelby: Republican leaders argue they have got more than a dozen economic proposals ready to go but senate Democrats are the ones holding up the process.

The average college student graduates with a debt of $24,000.

Now, we want to hear what you have to say. It is your turn. Do you think the government should help students pay back college loans?

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