Obama Will Push Student Loan Change During Stop in Iowa

By James Q. Lynch, Reporter

President Barack Obama delivers remarks at Conveyor Engineering & Manufacturing on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, in southwest Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids was the first stop as President Obama visits five states this week after delivering the State of the Union address Tuesday night. (Liz Martin/SourceMedia Group News)

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By Belinda Yeung

DES MOINES, Iowa -- President Obama will visit the University of Iowa in Iowa City April 25 as part of his effort to get Congress to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.

According to the White House, more than 7.4 million students with federal student loans will see their interest rates double July 1 unless Congress steps in to keep them low. For each year Congress allows the rate to double, the average student with these loans racks up an additional $1,000 in debt.

“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,: according to a statement from his press secretary.

Instead of offering more campaign slogans, the president should “explain to students why the cost of college is at an all-time high and how unemployment among young Americans is disproportionally high,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Ryan Mahoney.

“After three years of failed promises, empty rhetoric, and gimmicks, President Obama hasn’t delivered the jobs or the college affordability he promised to students,” Mahoney said. “It’s no wonder new polling shows President Obama is in trouble with young voters, they know they cannot afford four more years of his broken promises.”

The White House will also kick off a social media effort using Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, centered around the hashtag #DontDoubleMyRate.

The visit is part of a three-state tour to campuses. April 24, Obama will visit the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Colorado at Boulder. At each stop he will speak with students about the critical need for Congress to act.

It will be the president’s second trip this year to Iowa. Following his State of the Nation speech in late January, he visited Conveyor Engineering & Manufacturing in Cedar Rapids.

It would be his second visit to the UI campus as president. The last was in March 2010 in the Field House. He visited Iowa City numerous times as a candidate, including He also delivered an Earth Day speech on the Pentacrest in April 2007, visited the Medical Education and Research Facility in May 2007 — when he first announced his health care reform plans — and visited the Memorial Union in October 2007.

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