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Obama To Visit Top College Campuses In Three Swing States

Rosa Trieu |
April 20, 2012 | 4:58 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer


President Barack Obama will visit college campuses in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa next week, where he will try to get Congress to extend the low interest rate of federal student loans. The move could be a crucial one in grabbing the interests of middle-class and younger voters and strengthening his chances of winning re-election in November.

Unless Congress steps in to keep interest rates low, more than 7.4 million students with federal loans will see rates double on July 1.

"At a time when Americans owe more on student loans than credit cards, President Obama believes we must reward hard work and responsibility by keeping interest rates on student loans low so more Americans get a fair shot at an affordable college education, the skills they need to find a good job, and a clear path to middle class," the White House said in a press release.

The President will on Tuesday visit the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Colorado at Boulder. On Wednesday, he will visit the University of Iowa. 

According to The Republic, Obama will also appear on late-night comedian Jimmy Fallon's show for the first time, taping his appearance from UNC in Chapel Hill, N.C..


  • The trip comes as the White House defends itself against assertions that the president favors travel to states that he hopes to win in November, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined the White House’s daily news briefing to argue that the case Obama is making is driven by policy priorities, not political considerations.
  • [Education Secretary Arne] Duncan said the 3.4 percent interest rate on the subsidized Stafford Loans that were made to low- and middle-income undergraduates was scheduled to jump to 6.8 percent unless Congress acted. The administration estimates that would add more than $1,000 over the life of the average loan and affect more than 7 million families.
  • “At a time when going to college has never been more important, it also, unfortunately, has never been more expensive,” Duncan said, adding that higher education could help with the nation’s jobless rate. “We don’t just have a jobs issue now. We have a skills crisis. We have to close that skills gap. The only way we do that is to have a lot more young people graduate from high school and go on to college.”


Republicans argue that extending the lower rate on Stafford loans would add to the deficit and add to students' uncertainty about the future cost of borrowing to go to college, reports MSNBC.


  • “Bad policy based on lofty campaign promises has put us in an untenable situation," said Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., and chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. " We must now choose between allowing interest rates to rise or piling billions of dollars on the backs of taxpayers."


Congress faces a deadline to cut the federal budget deficit early next year.



Reach Executive Producer Rosa Trieu here. Follow her on Twitter.



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