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Obama addresses rising student loan debt

As student loan debt tops $1 trillion, President Obama’s “college road trip” has opened dialogue on how to ease the pressure on students.

“In America, higher education cannot be a luxury,” Obama said. “For some time now, I’ve been calling on Congress to take steps to make higher education more affordable – to prevent these interest rates from doubling, to extend the tuition tax credit that has saved middle-class families millions of dollars, and to double the number of work-study jobs over the next five years.”

In a Saturday address, President Obama warned that if House Republicans and the White House cannot reach an agreement, more than 7.4 million people will each average paying an additional $2,800 in interest payments over the course of a decade. The Stafford loan interest rate will hit 6.8 percent unless the House and White House can agree to additional allocations of $6 billion before July.

The President has accused Republicans of not supporting government aid to students, while favoring tax cuts for millionaires.

“Over the past few years,” he said, “Republicans in Congress have voted against new ways to make college more affordable for middle-class families, and voted for huge new tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires – tax cuts that would have to be paid for by cutting things like education and job-training programs that give students new opportunities to work and succeed.”

ecarrell@unews.com

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