I’ve been asked why I’m supporting President Obama quite a few times during this election season.
Surprisingly, it’s a complicated and a simple answer at the same time.
I have a whole list of reasons: women’s rights, student loans, education funding, supporting middle-class families, LGBTQ rights, environment and energy reform, healthcare reform … and the list goes on and on.
However, I’m an all-weather liberal, economically and socially. And I, just like everyone else, have the issues that are most important to me, and I have my biases when it comes to those issues. But all of our choice issues are not the same, so I don’t want to bore you with a column about why I’m voting for President Obama, because, let’s be honest, we all know that I am. Instead, I’d like to outline one very strong accomplishment that the president has done for college students.
President Obama believes that every American should have a chance to receive a high-quality education if they so choose.
He also understands that most of us need a little help to get there.
A majority of the American populous is middle class: most of our parents can’t afford to put us through college on their own. We generally rely on student loans and Pell Grants to pay for our education.
Well, during his first term in office, President Obama doubled the funding for Pell Grants as well as establishing a tax break for those families with children who are attending college. That means we have the ability to take out less student loans.
And then, through student loan reform, President Obama has cut out the middle-man and taken federal student loans out of the hands of private banks and simplified the process. By borrowing loans directly from the federal government, it keeps interest rates down, which, in turn, keeps the costs for students down. On top of that, part of President Obama’s student loan reform deals with student loan repayment.
So, after you graduate, you’ll only have to pay 10 percent of your annual income (after taxes) toward student loans each year. This actually increases economic growth. It gives people consumer power.
Meaning, if you’re paying less back toward student loans each month, you now have the ability to buy a house, car, new television, etc., which in turn helps businesses and keeps our economy growing.
Then, after making those payments for a pre-determined amount of time — 10 years if you work in the public sector and 20 years if you work in the private sector – all remaining student loan debt will be forgiven, which creates even more economic growth and helps sustain a healthy middle-class.
Pair student loan reform with the ability to stay on your parent’s health insurance until age 26 and the increased funding to education, President Obama has a proven record that he cares about Young Americans.
I am not telling you who to vote for, that’s not my objective, and I would rather you make an informed decision than blindly follow whatever I say. Anything I, or the chair of the College Republicans, say will be biased toward our perspective parties. So I encourage you all to do your own research on the candidates’ websites as well as on respectable news outlets. And, most importantly, make sure you vote Tuesday.
Editor’s note: Alex Middlewood is the president of the College Democrats at Central Michigan University.