Thursday, December 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Obama moves to extend student loan payment relief

By
From page A1 | June 10, 2014 |

By Josh Lederman

WASHINGTON (AP) — Aiming to alleviate the burden of student loan debt, President Barack Obama expanded a program Monday that lets borrowers pay no more than 10 percent of their income every month, and threw his support behind more sweeping Senate legislation targeting the issue.

Flanked by student loan borrowers at the White House, Obama said the rising costs of college have left America’s middle class feeling trapped. He put his pen to a presidential memorandum that he said could help an additional 5 million borrowers lower their monthly payments.

“I’m only here because this country gave me a chance through education,” Obama said. “We are here today because we believe that in America, no hard-working young person should be priced out of a higher education.”

An existing repayment plan Obama announced in 2010 lets borrowers pay no more than 10 percent of their monthly income in payments, but is available only to those who started borrowing after October 2007. Obama’s memo expands that program by making it open to those who borrowed anytime in the past.

Obama also announced he is directing the government to renegotiate contracts with federal student loan servicers to encourage them to make it easier for borrowers to avoid defaulting on their loans. And he asked Treasury and Education departments to work with major tax preparers, including H&R Block and the makers of TurboTax, to increase awareness about tuition tax credits and flexible repayment options available to borrowers.

“It’s going to make progress, but not enough,” Obama said. “We need more.”

To that end, Obama used the East Room appearance to endorse legislation that would let college graduates with heavy debts refinance their loans.

The bill’s chief advocate, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, joined a half-dozen other Democratic lawmakers as Obama urged Congress to pass the bill.

“This should be a no-brainer,” Obama said.

The Senate is expected to debate the legislation next week, but it faces significant opposition from Republicans, who disagree with the Democrats’ plan for how to pay for it.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, was forthright in his support of the bill:

“No one should be priced out of an education,” he said in a statement Monday. “Student loan debt is out of control in America. It’s preventing students with loans from taking the entrepreneurial risks that jump-start economies, stopping students from taking public service jobs, and causing many students to think twice before enrolling in the college education that could forever improve life for them and their families.

He added, “In 2010, I was proud to vote for a substantial student loan reform that created a fairer system for new borrowers. It cut out the for-profit middlemen and capped yearly student loan payments at 10 percent of one’s income. It was an important step, but people who already had loans were not included in that reform.

“I’m glad the president is taking this step, helping 5 million more borrowers finally escape the crippling burden of student loan debt.”

The dual strategy — taking executive action while urging Congress to finish the job — has become Obama’s signature playbook this year. Stymied by gridlock as Congress marches toward the midterm elections, he has repeatedly sought ways to go around Congress with modest steps.

Under an income-based repayment plan created by Congress, the maximum monthly payment is already set to drop from 15 percent of income to 10 percent in July 2014. But that plan affects only new borrowers. Obama’s “Pay as You Earn” plan uses another part of existing law to offer similar benefits to people who already borrowed to finance their education.

In previous Obama budgets, the White House has predicted that making the plan retroactive would cost the federal government billions of dollars in the early years. Asked about the costs Monday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the administration won’t know how much it will cost until they go through the rule-making process to put the expansion in place.

“We actually don’t know the costs yet,” Duncan said. “We’ll figure that out on the back end.”

Republican leaders in Congress have faulted Obama’s steps on loan repayments for failing to address the root cause: college costs that are too high.

“This was not a thought-out policy solution, but another in a series of political events designed to distract from the difficulties facing college grads in the Obama economy,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

 

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Former foster youths aided by UCD’s Guardian programs

    By Sarah Colwell | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Rain Recyclers saves water for another day

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    City plans signs to improve flow on Fifth Street

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    U.S., Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Supplies collected for victims of abuse

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    New technology chief will join McNaughton Newspapers

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Feds will discuss Berryessa Snow Mountain protection

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    ‘Longest Night’ service Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Nominate teens for Golden Heart awards

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Journalist will join post-film discussion Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    City offices will take a winter break

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Konditorei presents free holiday concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Yolo County needs a few good advisers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Per Capita Davis: Time to stop fooling around

    By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

     
    NAMI-Yolo offers free mental health education program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    .

    Forum

    Disagreement on mother’s care

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Marovich is a brilliant diplomat

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    And a jolly time was had by all

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Remember that all lives matter

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Pollution from electric vehicles

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    On skiing: What to know when buying new skis

    By Jeffrey Weidel | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil boys host Les Curry beginning Thursday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD women gear up for second half of swim season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggie men begin 4-game road trip at Air Force

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Youth roundup: DBC Juniors rider Kanz wins a cyclocross event

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    College Corner: How does applying for financial aid work?

    By Jennifer Borenstein | From Page: B3

     
    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B3

     
    Anniversary: Barbara and Jan Carter

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Something growing in the mailbox

    By Don Shor | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    Sing and dance along to Cold Shot at Froggy’s

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Point of Brew: Recollections of Christmases past

    By Michael Lewis | From Page: A7

    Golden Bough brings Irish holidays to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Come ‘Home for the Holidays’ and benefit school arts

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Rena Sylvia Smilkstein

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, December 18, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Last Minute Gift Guide

    Young phenoms make YouTube success look like child’s play

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG1

    Classic or contemporary, it’s all holiday music to our ears

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG2

    Teen gifts: ideas for hard-to-buy-for big kids

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG3

    Gift ideas for the health-conscious

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: LMG6

    Hall of Fame proudly puts these toys on the shelf

    By The Associated Press | From Page: LMG7