Jessica: At the University of Iowa, students started lining up before 6AM Monday morning. In the University of Colorado at Boulder, the line wrapped around the parking lot. And at the Unversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, students waited in the rain. All hoping to get tickets to see President Obama.
“I think it’s important to know about what’s going on in politics and the country.”
Jessica: President Obama kicked off a three-state tour of college campuses with a message aimed at young voters. He wants Congress to stop an increase on the interest rates of some student loans.
“When a big chunk of every paycheck goes to loan debt, that’s not just tough on you, that’s not just tough for middle class families, it’s not just tough on your parents, it’s painful for the economy because that money is not going to help businesses grow because the sooner you can start buying a house, that’s good for the housing industry.”
Jessica: In 2007, Congress passed a law which lowered the interest rate — or the fees paid to banks — on federal student loans. But the law was temporary. It expires this summer. If Congress doesn’t do anything by July 1st, interest rates on some federal loans will double for more than 7 million students. For the average college student, that means paying an extra $1,000. College graduates already carry an average of more than $25,000 in student debt.
About how much do you have?
“A couple of thousand, higher thousands.”
“About $5,000 after study abroad.”
Jessica: Higher interest rates are a scary thought for those about to graduate.
Matthew Boltz: They get you right when you come out of school. So as soon as you graduate, a lot of my friends are seniors, they’re going to have to start paying loans back on top of going to med school or going to MBA programs.
Frances Barnes: You don’t know what to say, other than I don’t have a job. I can’t pay them, but the calls don’t stop.
Jessica: Some say the president is trying to appeal to a new crop of young voters with this college tour. Young people were a key part of his win in 2008. But the presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney also came out and said he supports extending the interest loan rate. Now, it is up to Congress.
Jessica Kumari, Channel One News.