President Obama trying to ease college debt burden

Students on campus at Kent State Trumbull


CHAMPION, Ohio (WYTV) – President Barack Obama signed a memorandum Tuesday morning at Georgia Tech that will make it easier for students to pay back their student loans.

It says every student deserves access to a quality affordable education, should be able to access the resources to pay for college and that every borrower has the right to an affordable repayment plan.

Officials at the White House are calling it a “Student Aid Bill of Rights” and it instructs private companies, who use the federal government to collect student loan debt, to communicate better with borrowers about their repayment options.

The memorandum also requires that the government create a website where student loan borrowers can lodge complaints and receive better customer service.

“A lot don’t take into consideration how much money they are taking out when they get a loan. I think they figure ‘when I get done, I will think about it.’ At that point, they have racked up a pretty hefty loan amount,” said Dr. James Ritter, director of enrollment and student services at the Trumbull branch of Kent State University.

He said 80 percent of Kent State Trumbull’s students get some type of student aid.

The plan also calls for new websites where borrowers can see all of their education loans in one place.

“I think it is nice that he is putting everything all together. It would be nice to have a place where I can go and see where all of my debt is and see how much I owe, how much I need to pay back to get it all paid off at a certain time,” freshman Daniel Bevilacqua said.

More than 70 percent of U.S. students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree leave with more than $28,000 in debt.

“The amount of debt that students are taking nationwide has gone up in recent years and will continue to go up, so anything he [President Obama] can do to make it easier for students to repay their loans is only going to be in their best interest,” Ritter said.

Spencer Jones, a sophomore at Kent State Trumbull, has racked up roughly $3,500 in student loans. He said he is worried about when the time comes to pay it back.

“Yeah, a little bit, because I know it is kind of hard to find a job immediately after you get out of college,” Jones said.

Ritter said they counsel students as much as they can.

“We try to tell them to take out the least amount as possible because you have to repay your loans,” he said.

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