President Obama expands program to help graduates pay for their student loans

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - President Barack Obama is using his executive power to expand a program helping many graduates pay off their student loans.  The president's proposal allows an additional five billion borrowers to cap their payments at 10 percent of their incomes.

Rogelio Alvarado is excited to finally walk across that stage…

“I’m pretty excited. I waited for this day for six years so, four years in my undergrad and two years in my graduate,” he said.

He is one of the two-thousand students graduating from California State University who will benefit from President Barack Obama’s post-college plan.

“Graduates need as much help as we can get and whatever it is that can be done in order to decrease either the percentage due or just overall the balance, any help is great,” said graduate Liliana Luna.

Obama’s original plan announced in 2010 is available for those who started borrowing after October 2007.  The proposed expansion affects graduates who have borrowed in the past, but won’t go into effect until next year.

There is no word yet on how much the proposal would cost and how it would be paid for, but previous estimates put the expansion in the billions of dollars.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have criticized the plan for not lowering college cost all together, but the proposal is welcome change for many graduates.

“The extra help will definitely be appreciated,” said graduate Biridiana Rios.

The Obama administration plans to re-negotiate contracts with federal student loan providers urging them to make it easier for borrowers to avoid defaulting.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot but it is a lot, compared to having to have to pay out of pocket, seeing how much it is, I think it will help greatly and then a lot of more people will be able to go to school again,” said graduate Claudia McDonald.


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