As a child of Italian immigrants, it was always clear. Education was the key to a prosperous middle class life. But student loans were the only way I could possibly go to college. There was no extra money for college tuition for my brother and me. Just lots of love and support.
I am reminded of my own story by President Obama’s travels this week to universities in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa to discuss the importance of making college more affordable. This is vital right now because Congress must act to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1.
President Obama is committed to keeping student loan interest rates low so that hardworking young students can afford the higher education they need to compete and succeed in the jobs of today and tomorrow. Higher education must not be just for the wealthy.
In contrast, Mitt Romney has not been a strong advocate for young Americans and their families when it comes to education.
- Just last week, Romney disclosed to donors in a closed-door fundraiser his secret plan to make the Department of Education – whose signature programs include student loans – “a heck of a lot smaller” in order to fund $5 trillion in tax breaks, mostly for wealthy Americans.
- Romney also wants to cut millionaires’ taxes by an average of $150,000 a year, while letting critical tax credits for middle-class Americans expire – including the college tax credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college. This would eliminate much-needed help with college costs for more than 9 million hardworking middle-class families.
- Then Romney says he supports the Romney-Ryan budget, which would cost the average student nearly $1,000 per year. But now he says he is opposed to that same idea. So which is it? This is just the latest instance of Mitt Romney contradicting himself and making promises he doesn’t intend to keep.
There is too much on the line to accept Romney’s hypocrisy and failed policies that would hurt students, families, and our ability to grow our economy and invest in America’s future.
Access to affordable education is a critical part of President Obama’s plan for an economy that’s built to last. Making college more affordable for all is part of this country’s foundation. It’s a critical building block of the middle class.
At a time when Americans owe more on student loans than credit cards, preventing the cost of those loans from doubling will help our nation’s students and their families, and make America stronger for the long haul. Let Congress know how you feel!