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Obama addresses loan rates, tax credits


President Barack Obama discussed job training at Lorain County Community College (Ohio) last week.

Photo: LCCC

​In his weekly address this weekend, President Barack Obama noted a community college student who he recently met to highlight the importance of an affordable higher education, especially in today’s economy.

During his visit last week to Lorain County Community College (LCCC) in Ohio, the president met student Andrea Ashley. Two years ago, Ashley lost her job as a human resources analyst. Today, she’s at LCCC training to work in the fast-growing field of electronic medical records. 

“Before enrolling at Lorain, Andrea told me she was looking everywhere trying to find a new job,” Obama said in his address. “But without a degree, she said that nobody would hire her.”

The president said Ashley’s story is not unique: many unemployed Americans are looking for jobs, but they don’t have the high skills that many employers want.

“We should be doing everything we can to put higher education within reach for every American,” Obama said. “At a time when the unemployment rate for Americans with at least a college degree is about half the national average, it’s never been more important.”

The president challenged Congress to do more to help keep higher education costs in check so more Americans can go to college. He targeted students loan interest rates, noting that unless lawmakers act soon, the interest rates on some loans could double on July 1.

“Making it harder for our young people to afford higher education and earn their degrees is nothing more than cutting our own future off at the knees,” Obama said.

The president also called on Congress to extend the tuition tax credit and to double the number of work-study jobs over the next five years—two proposals he pitched during his state of the union address earlier this year.

Obama said he will visit several colleges this week to promote college affordability.