Obama and Romney discuss student loans to reach college voters


Will they find an adequate job? Will it pay enough to cover their monthly student loan payments? Will they have to move back in with their parents? Or hide out in grad school? Will things get better by graduation day?


Voting booths in Philadelphia. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images) (Jessica Kourkounis/GETTY IMAGES)

The issues that college students are passionate about vary from campus to campus, region to region, and major to major. Something that is consistent: student loan debt. At least two-thirds of students at four-year universities take on debt to pay for school, according to FinAid.org, and the total amount of outstanding student loan debt passed the $1 trillion mark last year.

Obama and Romney have both supported extending the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which is set to expire this summer and lowered the interest rate on federal student loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. It’s unclear what Congress will do, and the Post has reported that many Republican lawmakers have balked at the $6 billion price tag attached to a one-year extension.


President Barack Obama sits with Jimmy Fallon during commercial break as he participates in a taping of the Jimmy Fallon Show at the University of North Carolina on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Meanwhile, Romney has also been appealing to young voters and recent college graduates who are faced with a bleak job market.

“I think young voters in this country have to vote for me if they’re really thinking of what’s in the best interest of the country and what’s in their personal best interest, because the president’s policies have led to extraordinary statistics,” Romney said during a press conference on Monday.

In addition to the 20-somethings who were old enough to vote during the last election, there’s a new wave of college voters who were under 18 in 2008. Senior White House officials told The Post on Monday that a key goal of Obama’s re-election campaign is to register as many of these young voters as possible.


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney listens to Pittsburgh area residents in April. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (Jae C. Hong/AP)

Schriver said many of these first-time voters have likely watched the struggles of their older brothers and sisters, some of whom might be unemployed or underemployed and living back at home. For them, the worries are greater than just student loan debt.

“They are worried about how they are going to be able to pay the bills, to support themselves,” said Schriver, who graduated in late 2010. “It’s jobs, jobs, jobs.”

For even more higher education news, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter. And here is some of The Post’s recent coverage:

Young voters worried about student loans, economy

Boomerang kids don’t mind their older roommates — err, parents

One trillion dollars: Student loan debt builds toward yet another record

Jenna Johnson is a political reporter who is covering the 2016 presidential campaign.

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