Consolidating Student Loan Debt

About the Student Loan Consolidation Program

Student loan consolidation combines all of your previous loans into one single loan that is paid off at a specified date. The benefit of consolidating student loan debt is lower monthly payments to finance the debt. This also allows you enough time to get a steady and stable job to ensure that you easily pay off the debt within time. Consolidating your federal student loans requires that you fulfill certain criteria to become qualified

Federal Student Loans
You should be glad to hear that majority of government student loans are qualified for consolidation. Some of the federal student loans that are eligible for consolidation includes:

  • Supplemental Student Loan
  • PLUS Loans
  • Federal Nursing Loans
  • Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans
  • Health Education Loans
  • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • PLUS loans (Feel Program)

Fulfilling the Eligibility Criteria

You should note that you must fulfill certain conditions to become qualified for consolidating student loans. One of the conditions to avail this debt relief program is that at least one of the loans should be within the allowed grace period. Moreover, you have to make an agreement with your previous lenders relating to loans that you have failed to pay prior to consolidating student loans.

Prepare Yourself Before Applying for Consolidation
The importance of doing proper research before applying for consolidation cannot be emphasized enough. Although you may be qualified for consolidating, sometimes your debt burden increases with consolidation. Furthermore, you should remember that whether loan consolidation is right for you or not depends upon how much you can forego in order to get relief from your debt burden. Consolidating your student loans extends the repayment period that results in lower monthly payments, but it also increases the amount of interest rate on the loans.

Getting guidance from professional loan consolidation counselling firms is the best option to ensure that you get the best terms and conditions on consolidating your loans. After all, you want to get relief from your debt burden and not overburden yourself with debt.

Learn How to Challenge and Avoid Student Loan Tax Refund Offset

If you obtain a notice of tax refund offset for a student loan, you can challenge it on various grounds.

Did you know that defaulting on your student loan could have serious consequences? If you fall into default, you put yourself at risk of having your tax refunds taken away by federal and state authorities.

How Does a Tax Refund Offset Happen?

Computer Records of debtors who have defaulted on their student loans are sent to the IRS. The federal revenue agency takes all or a part of the individual’s tax refunds and applies it to student loan debt. If you file a joint tax return, the IRS may even hold your spouse’s income tax refund.

The Department of Education initiates requests for tax refund for any of the following two reasons:

1.    Student Debt that is due to or guaranteed by the Department of Education
2.    Student Debt that is due to private lenders or guarantors who have contacted Department of Education

The IRS will send you an advance notice of the proposed tax offset, including the amount and nature of the outstanding debt. When you receive the tax offset notice, you can:

•    Request to inspect and copy student loan records within 20 days of receiving the notice,
•    Request to review the proposed tax offset within 65 days of receiving the notice or 15 additional days if you have requested to inspect your loan records

You must appeal directly to the Department of Education, if you want to review the proposed tax offset.

How to Challenge a Tax Refund Offset?

When sending a request for review, you must include your name, social security number, loan amount and a written objection to the debt. You must also specify whether you want to request a hearing in person, online or by telephone. Some of the reasons for which you can object to tax refund offset include:

* Student loan amount is already paid by you
* Student loan is cancelled or discharged in bankruptcy
* Mistake in crediting you with the student loan
* Wrong loan amount is posted in the notice
* Refund of student loan due because of closed school discharge or false certification discharge
* Borrower of the student loan amount is dead or permanently disabled
* Have entered into a written agreement with creditors to pay off the loan amount

How to Avoid Tax Refund Offset?

Generally, it is very difficult to get out of a tax refund offset. You can lessen the chances of tax refund offset by entering into a written agreement with your creditors or guarantors for repayment, consolidation, rehabilitation, or deferment of your student loan debt. Some ways to avoid the student loan tax refund offset include:

a. Repayment of Student Loan Amount

One way to avoid tax refund offsets is to pay the student loan amount in full. You can either pay the loan amount due under the original terms of condition or under a revised repayment plan. The repayment plans range from standard and fixed amount payment plans to income specific and income contingent payment plans.

b. Consolidation of Student Loan Amount

Another option to avoid tax refund offset is to consolidate your student loans. Student loan consolidation merges all your student loans into a single loan. The advantage of consolidating your loans is lower monthly payments in paying off the loans. Most federal student loans are eligible for consolidation. Two of the most popular student loan consolidation program includes:
•    Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and
•    Income Based Repayment Plan (IBR)

PAYE repayment plan is available for all loans availed on are after Oct. 01, 2007. Although it is the most generous loan consolidation plan, not every applicant qualifies for the program. The IBR student loan repayment plan adjusts the monthly loan amount based on what you earn. The payment amount can be as low as zero dollars if the discretionary income is not enough to meet the minimum monthly payment amount.

c. Rehabilitation of Student Loan Amount

Rehabilitation of your student loan is another option that you can consider to avoid student loan tax refund offsets. Under the loan rehabilitation program, you have to make around 9 voluntary payments of an agreed amount over a ten month period. This allows you to get your loan in good standing and avoid tax refund offset. Once the rehabilitation period is complete, you will have to make payments according to original terms and agreement of the student loan.

d. Deferment of Student Loan Amount

Finally, you can apply for deferment of the student loan to avoid tax refund offsets. During the deferment period, you do not have to make any payments on your loan amount. You may be eligible for deferment if you are:

•    Attending a rehabilitation program for disabled individuals
•    Enrolled in a graduate or post graduate fellowship program
•    Facing financial hardship
•    Unemployed and seeking a full time job

To find out more or to avoid tax refund offsets, visit the Student Loan Relief Project and get your free consultation.

What Can You Do If Your Student Loan Amount is certified for Student Loan Tax Refund Offset?

Like most people, graduation may be the most memorable occasion in your life. You studied hard to keep up your grades; you sacrificed your time to complete your course work; and you may even have had to go through the process of availing your student loan to cover all your course fees. All this effort culminates in achieving a college degree on graduation day!

However, the warm feeling of finally earning a degree wears off quickly once you find yourself surrounded by huge pile of student debt. Most loan repayment plans commence about six months after graduation. But finding a job with a salary high enough to pay the loan installment amount due is not an easy task. It takes most graduates quite some time to secure a decent paying job. Unfortunately, all too often the defaulted loan ends up on the desk of a debt collection agency.

Some Student Loans Become Certified for Tax Refund Offset

In the U.S., the Department of Education (DOE) refers all defaulted student loan debt claims to the Department of Treasury. The treasury department can request the IRS to offset the loan amount against federal and/or state tax refunds. Tax refund offset means that your state or federal tax refunds would be used to make payments of the student loan amount that is due.

Once the DOE requests the treasury department to collect student loan due from the delinquent borrower, the defaulted student loan becomes certified for tax refund offset. The certified status remains as long as the student loan amount remains due from the borrower or it is legally discharged in the event of bankruptcy.

The certified status of the student loan cannot be made void by making voluntary payments in lieu of the loan installment amount. You may offset the certified student loan tax offset status through payment of the loan amount in full, consolidation, rehabilitation, or settlement for partial payment or cancellation of the loan amount. In other words, the delinquent borrower would have to bring the student loan due back to the current status if he or she would like to remove it from the certified tax refund status.

How Can I Check If My Student Loan Amount Is Certified For Tax Refund Offsets?

Under the current U.S. laws, you would receive a tax refund offset notice from the IRS at the specified mail address. You can then file a request with the Department of Education to review your tax refund status. However, in case you have not updated your current address with the IRS, you may not receive the notice of the student loan tax refund offset.

You can check the status of your federal student loan payable by contacting the Department of Education directly. The DOE will refer you to the assigned debt collection agency that currently holds your debt. You can also contact the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) call center to know whether you student loan amount is certified for tax refund offset.

Department of Education’s customer service number: (800) 621-3115
Treasury Department’s designated offset call center: (800) 304-3107

You can also contact a student loan consolidation agency to discuss various student loan repayment options.

Student Loan Forgiveness: Too Good to Be True?

Who wouldn’t want to have their student loan debt vanish—evaporate into oblivion? If you are among the millions of Americans with student loan debt, this may be the kind of thing you dream of at night. Is it possible to make this dream a reality with student loan forgiveness programs?

The federal government offers distinct student loan forgiveness programs:

1) Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program – Forgives remaining student loan debt for graduates in public service careers after they have made 10 years of payments on qualified federal student loans.

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans only
  • Must use Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR), Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE), Income-Contingent Repayment Plan (ICR), or 10-year Standard Plan to repay loan
  • Must make 120 qualified payments (10 years); do not have to be consecutive, but payments must have been made after the start of the program in October 2007
  • Must have been working full time (30 hrs/wk) in public service while 120 payments were made
  • No lump sum or advanced payments permitted
  • Forgiven debt is tax-free
  • Apply after making your 120th qualified payment and include proof of public service employment

While the possibility of having your loans forgiven may not make up for the lower pay you are likely to earn in public or non-profit career, these programs are fantastic opportunities for those graduates already planning on careers in the public service. There are also many extensive profession-based public service student loan forgiveness programs for doctors, dentists, lawyers, MBA graduates,nurses, teachers, and many other professions to help forgive your student loans.

2) Income-Based Repayment Plan (IBR) and Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan (PAYE) – Two loan repayment plans that allow any remaining debt to be forgiven after 20-25 years.

  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS loans made to students, and Direct Consolidation Loans are eligible
  • Must demonstrate partial financial hardship
  • Repayments capped at 10-15% of your discretionary income for 20-25 years (depending on the plan)
  • Forgiven debt is taxable as income
  • See complete list of pros and cons of income based repayment plans

So, does loan forgiveness sound too good to be true? These student loan forgiveness programs are not suited for everyone. However, the specific groups of individuals that these programs target could benefit greatly. Though not career-specific, loan forgiveness under the IBR/PAYE plans still only benefit a limited group of individuals: those with low-income and a high loan balance that will persist for at least 20 years. The vast majority of graduates will have their student loan debt paid off by the end of the 10-25 year terms of any of the aforementioned repayment plans. However, these programs do not require a full commitment and many choose to use take part until they find a higher paying job to save on their monthly payment in the short term.

As it turns out, these student loan forgiveness programs may not allow the majority of individuals’ debt to disappear as in their dreams. Fortunately, there are still other ways for graduates to reduce their student loan debt. Refinancing may be a viable option to help you reduce your debt and pay off it faster. Though your loans might not disappear overnight, you may be able secure a better rate by refinancing.

Original Article on Huffington Post

Sallie Mae, Navient To Pay $139 Million Settling Probes Into Cheating Troops On Student Loans

WASHINGTON — Sallie Mae and its former loan servicing unit agreed to pay a combined $139 million to resolve federal allegations that the companies cheated soldiers and charged other borrowers unfair fees on student loans.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. accused Sallie Mae and its loan unit, now called Navient, of intentionally violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act by overcharging active-duty troops beginning in 2005, a period in which service members were fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The FDIC said Sallie Mae and Navient processed borrowers’ monthly student loan payments in a way designed to maximize late fees.

Despite the settlement and the evidence amassed by federal investigators, the Education Department hasn’t determined whether it will take any action on Navient’s loan servicing contract with the federal government. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he instructed department officials to immediately conduct a review to determine “what appropriate actions, if any,” should be taken against the company.

The service members law requires loan companies to cap interest rates at 6 percent upon request for borrowers entering active duty. The Justice Department said an audit revealed that just 7 percent of troops on active duty who had student loans with interest rates above 6 percent, and whose loans had a special military identification code in the companies’ computer systems, had their rates capped under the law.

The other 93 percent, according to federal prosecutors, paid much more than they should have. Some had federal student loans the Education Department was paying Sallie Mae to service. Nearly half of them paid an additional $166. Close to a quarter paid an extra $500. The Justice Department said a majority of troops gave Sallie Mae and Navient paperwork that made clear they were eligible for the service member law’s protections.

Federal authorities said Sallie Mae and Navient broke the law in three ways: The companies failed to honor troops’ requests after receiving them, did not follow up with troops whose documents may have been deficient, and failed to inform troops of the 6 percent cap when they requested other benefits under the law.

“Defendants’ conduct was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of servicemembers,” the Justice Department said.

The companies agreed to create a $60 million fund that will issue refunds to 60,000 aggrieved service members, and to pay a $55,000 civil penalty. The companies also agreed to refund borrowers who were unfairly charged late fees $72 million, and pay the FDIC a $6.6 million civil penalty. Sallie Mae and Navient neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.

“We offer our sincere apologies to the servicemen and servicewomen who were affected by our processing errors and thus did not receive the full benefits they deserve,” said John Remondi, Navient chief executive. Sallie Mae said, “We regret any inconvenience or hardship that our customers may have experienced.”

Navient placed some of the blame for its actions on the federal government. According to the company, federal authorities have effectively changed how they enforce the service member law and are now punishing Navient for failing to comply with what Navient describes as new standards.

Industry executives have previously pointed to correspondence between them and the Education Department, which lends some credence to the industry’s position when it comes to federal student loans.

For example, the Education Department previously told Washington trade groups representing student loan companies that service members had to specifically request that their loans be capped at 6 percent. The companies couldn’t simply reduce service members’ interest rates if they didn’t specifically request it.

Reducing interest rates would impact the Education Department’s bottom line. The department is forecast to generate $127 billion in profit over the next decade from lending to college students and their families, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Education Department officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The settlement, which still must be approved by a federal judge, is the first case to be brought under the service member law alleging violations on student loans, according to the Justice Department.

While the settlement resolves inquiries from the Justice Department and FDIC, pending probes of Sallie Mae and Navient by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau were not included. The cost to settle the consumer bureau’s investigations are certain to drive up the companies’ combined tally to achieve peace with regulators in Washington, who have grown increasingly skeptical of the companies’ operations.

“Sallie Mae gave servicemembers the runaround and denied them the interest-rate reduction required by law. This behavior is unacceptable,” said Holly Petraeus, who oversees the CFPB’s efforts to protect service members. “And it’s particularly troubling from a company that benefits so generously from federal contracts.”

The service member settlement also opens a new front for Navient, which must now convince the Education Department not to cancel its lucrative government contract.

The Justice Department said the violations occurred on federal student loans — specifically on those loans the Department of Education pays the companies to service. Sallie Mae, which recently split itself into two, with Navient now handling the Education Department contract, has collected $256 million in fees off the Education Department contract over the the past three years.

According to first quarter figures, Navient this year is set to reap more than $120 million in revenue off the contract. The company handled 5.8 million accounts for the Education Department as of March 31.

The contract forbids Navient, and its predecessor, Sallie Mae, from breaking the law, and Education Department officials have said a breach of the contract may be grounds for termination. The Huffington Post previously reported that despite federal investigators having evidence as late as August that Sallie Mae violated the service member law on federal student loans, the Education Department told the company in late October that it intended to renew its five-year contract.

“There is no place in the federal student loan program for companies that would deceive or deprive borrowers of guaranteed protections or benefits,” said Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Education Committee.

Duncan, when asked during a news conference Tuesday whether the department would cancel the company’s contract, said, “There’s no presumption of guilt or innocence. We’ll do a thorough review and we’ll go over the facts that follow, but every option is on the table.”

The federal government’s investigation into Sallie Mae took well over a year. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the companies engaged in a “nationwide practice of failing to provide service members with the 6 percent interest rate to which they were entitled under law.”

In August, Chris Greene, Education Department spokesman, said that Sallie Mae told the department that federal student loan borrowers were not affected by what was then publicly viewed as a probe targeting the company’s handling only of private student loans.

“The Education Department has done nothing to regulate the company when evidence that Sallie Mae mishandled its loans continues to mount,” said Chris Hicks, an organizer who leads the Debt-Free Future campaign for Jobs With Justice, a Washington-based nonprofit that is among organizations that have called on Duncan to suspend the department’s contract with Sallie Mae.

“They have turned a blind eye to their servicers’ practices at the expense of borrowers, and this is already beginning to have a ripple effect on our entire economy,” Hicks said. “Inaction simply isn’t an option.”

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who chairs the Senate education committee, said student loan practices uncovered by federal investigators strengthened his resolve to put in place strong servicing rules. “While some of these bad actors might think that they are too big to fail, I am committed to ensuring that student loan borrowers are no longer too small to ignore,” he said.

Original article on Huffington Post

ENSURING THAT STUDENT LOANS ARE AFFORDABLE

“Let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years –- and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college.” – President Barack Obama, January 27, 2010

A year ago, President Obama set a national goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. But because of the high costs of college, about two-thirds of graduates take out loans with an average student debt of over $23,000. This debt is particularly burdensome for graduates who choose to enter lower-paying public service careers, suffer setbacks such as unemployment or serious illness, or fail to complete their degree.

To ensure that Americans can afford their student loan payments, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act gives student borrowers new choices in how they repay their loans. The initiative was developed by the Middle Class Task Force chaired by Vice President Biden, and it will expand the income-based repayment plan for federal student loans that was put in place last summer. More than 1.2 million borrowers are projected to qualify and take part in the expanded IBR program.

Under this new law, students enrolling in 2014 or later can choose to:

  • Limit Payments to 10 Percent of Income: Borrowers choosing the income-based repayment plan will pay no more than 10 percent of their income above a basic living allowance, reduced from 15 percent under current law. The basic living allowance varies with family size and is set at 150 percent of the poverty line, currently equaling about $16,500 for a single individual and $33,000 for a family of four.
    • More than 1 million borrowers would be eligible to reduce their monthly payments.
    • The payment will be reduced by more than $110 per month for a single borrower who earns $30,000 a year and owes $20,000 in college loans, based on 2009 figures.
  • Forgive Any Remaining Debt after 20 Years, or after 10 Years for Those in Public Service: Borrowers who take responsibility for their loans and make their monthly payments will see their remaining balance forgiven after 20 years of payments, reduced from 25 years in current law.
    • Public service workers – such as teachers, nurses, and those in military service – will see any remaining debt forgiven after 10 years.
  • Fully Funded by Student Loan Reforms: These new initiatives are funded by ending the current subsidies given to financial institutions that make guaranteed federal student loans. Starting July 1, all new loans will be direct loans delivered and collected by private companies under performance-based contracts with the Department of Education. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, ending these wasteful subsidies will free up nearly $68 billion for college affordability and deficit reduction over the next 11 years.

These proposals are part of the Obama-Biden Administration’s ambitious agenda to make higher education more affordable and to help more Americans earn college degrees. This agenda includes:

  • More than doubling funding for Pell scholarships between 2008 and 2011.
  • Tripling the largest college tax credit – the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
  • Increasing investments in America’s community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions.
  • Simplifying the federal student aid application (FAFSA) making it easier to apply for college financial aid.

Original article from The White House

STUDENT LOAN FORGIVENESS PROGRAM AVAILABLE TO MILLIONS WHO AREN’T UTILIZING IT, CFPB SAYS

WASHINGTON — More than 33 million workers qualify to have their student loans forgiven because they work in schools, hospitals or city halls, but too few take advantage of the options because the programs are overly complicated and often confusing, the government’s consumer advocate said Wednesday.

Roughly a quarter of the U.S. workforce could take advantage of federal rules that give favorable loan repayment options to those in public service fields, including the military, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The agency recommended Congress review the loan forgiveness programs and encouraged employers to make sure their workers know they are available.

“Teachers, soldiers, firefighters, policeman – public sector careers invariably involve some effort, some inconvenience or some sacrifice. People give up higher incomes to serve their city, their state or their country,” said Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB. “We believe that people who contribute part of their talents, part of the benefits of their education, to society as a whole should not be mired in debt because they stir themselves to the calling of public service.”

Student loan debt has topped $1 trillion, the consumer advocate estimates, and has been a drag on the economy as recent graduates are forced to choose between paying down their loans and buying a house or a car. That sends millions of dollars to lenders instead of keeping that cash in the local communities.

For many graduates, there are multiple programs in place to ease the financial burden of taking lower-paying jobs to help their communities. But the system is fraught with complications and competing options and a firm number of how many graduates could benefit is hard to come by.

“The data is quite weak in this area. We don’t have a sense of how much money is left on the table,” said Rohit Chopra, the CFPB’s student loan ombudsman. “But we suspect it’s a substantial sum.”

The consumer advocacy bureau knows how many people qualify because they work under the broad umbrella of public service.

“We estimate that one in four working Americans has a job that meets the definition of public service under this program. Many of these teachers, health care workers and other public servants could be eligible to have their college loans wiped out after ten years,” Cordray said.

The definition is broader than that, though. For instance, clerks at the state department of motor vehicles office, secretaries at city hall and accountants at non-profit arts groups also qualify for the loan forgiveness programs – positions not typically seen as public service jobs.

But the largest group of beneficiaries would be those in education – more than 6.8 million people.

The Education Department’s statistics arm estimates the nation’s schools will need 425,000 new teachers by the end of the decade. But college graduates aren’t necessarily going to flock to the classroom without some incentives; the National Education Association pegs the starting salary of a teacher at less than $36,000.

“Public service employees – most especially teachers – never get into the teaching profession to get rich. They have a deep passion,” said Jeffrey Bourne, the chairman of Virginia’s Richmond School Board.

But it’s tough to recruit teachers, he said, and loan forgiveness programs make it easier for new teachers to take lower starting salaries than their classmates as they start their careers. He said too few of those in his districts know about their options.

Similarly, the demand for nurses, police officers and social workers is expected to outstrip supply of these often lower-paid professionals.

“With high expectations and increasing budget pressures on cities, it’s become more important than ever to attract, retain and reward outstanding individuals,” said Peter Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., who has pledged to help his city’s employees navigate the programs.

“You’ll run into some people who think starting their career in a public sector job is a luxury they cannot afford because of their student loan debt,” Buttigieg said. “The reality is that crushing student loan debt is making it more difficult for our employees to stay in public service.”

Original article from the Huffington Post

OBAMA REVEALS HE AND MICHELLE ONLY PAID OFF THEIR STUDENT LOANS EIGHT YEARS AGO

President Barack Obama made a startling revelation about his finances while  trying to connect with younger voters on the campaign trail by saying that he and Michelle had only paid off their college loans eight years ago.

While talking about the rising cost of college education, Mr Obama said that it took he and the first lady over a decade to pay off their student loans.

‘Check this out, all right?  I’m the president of the United States.  We only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago,’ he said while addressing college students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Tuesday.

‘That wasn’t that long ago.’

It really wasn’t: that would mean that the couple paid off their loans in the same year that he ran for and won the Senatorial race in 2004.

By that point, he had been working as a state senator for seven years and Mrs Obama was working as an executive at the University of Chicago Hospitals.

For the 2004 fiscal year, the couple reported $204,647 in taxable income which came from his state senate salary, her corporate salary, the royalties of his first book, Dreams from My Father and their earnings from respective boards.

By the same calculation, Mr and Mrs Obama were 42 and 40 years old respectively when their loans were fully paid off.

That said, they did have two serious educations to pay for: Mr Obama attended Occidental College before transferring to Columbia University to finish his undergraduate degree. Though the tuition fees have obviously changed since the late 1980s, Columbia was ranked as the most expensive college in 2012.

Mrs Obama graduated from Princeton University, before immediately heading to Harvard Law School. Her husband followed three years after her- just missing her on campus.

‘Michelle and I, we’ve been in your shoes,’ he said while speaking to thousands of students on Tuesday.

He drove the point home, comparing their financial situation to that of his likely Republican opponent Mitt Romney who is known for his vast personal wealth which is somewhere around $190million to $250million.

‘We didn’t come from wealthy families. When we graduated from college and law school, we had a mountain of debt.  When we married, we got poorer together,’ Mr Obama continued.

The topic of college loans is likely to come up frequently on the campaign as the President tries to re-energize the young base of voters who played a significant role into putting him in office in 2008.

He is hoping to stop the interest rate on student loans from doubling on July 1.

Though recent polls have him well ahead of the former Massachusetts governor in terms of favorability among young people, the concern is whether or not they will turn up to the polls.

A NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that youth interest in the election dropped 18 per cent from the 2008 election, from 63 per cent when he first ran to 45 per cent now.

He is also due to appear in a taped segment for Jimmy Fallon’s late night talk show tonight, joking around with the show’s signature ‘Slow Jam the News’ segment.

Original article from the Daily Mail