Letter to the editor: Helping manage student loan debt

   Dear editor, Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to get out of Washington and talk with folks across the country about how we can create jobs and get our economy growing faster.   This is a tough time for a lot of Americans – especially young people.  You’ve come of age at a time of profound change.  The world has gotten more connected, but it’s also gotten more competitive. For the last three years, we’ve worked to stabilize the economy, and we’ve made some progress.  And now, as you’re getting ready to head out into the world, many of you are watching your friends and classmates struggle to find work.  You’re wondering what’s in store for your future, and I know that can be scary. At the University of Colorado at Denver, I announced steps we’re taking to make college more affordable and to make it even easier for students like you to get out of debt faster. Michelle and I know what it feels like to leave school with a mountain of debt.  By the time we both graduated from law school, we had about $120,000 worth of debt between us, which took almost ten years to pay off. Living with that much debt forces you to make some tough choices.  And when a big chunk of every paycheck goes towards student loans, it isn’t just painful for you – it’s painful to our economy and harmful to our recovery. That’s why we’re making changes that will give about 1.6 million students the ability to cap their loan payments at 10 percent of their income starting next year.  We’re also going to take steps to help you consolidate your loans so that instead of making multiple payments to multiple lenders every month, you only have to make one payment a month at a better interest rate.  We want to start giving students a simple fact sheet called “Know Before You Owe” so you can have all the information you need to make your own decision about paying for college. These changes will make a real difference for millions of Americans.  We’ll help more young people figure out how to afford college.  We’ll put more money in your pocket after you graduate. And we’ll give our economy a boost at a time when it desperately needs it. That’s not just important for our country right now – it’s important for our future.  Michelle and I are where we are today because our college education gave us a chance.  In the weeks ahead, I’m going to keep doing everything in my power to make a difference for the American people – including young people like you.  When we face a challenge, we meet it.  We don’t wait.  And I hope you’ll join me. Sincerely, Barack Obama 44th President of the United States