Charlotte, NC – The Democratic National Convention is over, but the fire ignited is still present in the streets of the host city, Charlotte, North Carolina. President Barack Obama accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination in front of the entire nation, last night.
And one of the major platforms highlighted in his speech was the importance of getting an education.
“No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money,” said Obama in his acceptance speech. “And students, you’ve got to do the work. Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next ten years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that future for America.”
But what Obama is saying is not something new. According to Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, in 2010 “President Obama signed a new executive order promoting excellence, innovation, and sustainability at HBCUs. To put this legislation in perspective, the new law—coupled with the funding provided in the Recovery Act and the President's first two budgets—more than doubles the total amount of funding for Pell Grants since President Obama took office. Over the course of the next decade, we project that nearly 60,000 additional Pell Grant awards will go to African-American students—and 21,000 of those Pell Grants will go to students at HBCUs.”
Legislation like this may be why a current Gallop poll shows that 64% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 prefer Obama to Romney.
To discuss youth helping to re-elect President Barack Obama, many college students from across the country attended the youth caucus in Charlotte.
“Every college student in America knows what it’s like to take out student loans,” said Alejandra Salinas, President of College Democrats of America. “This past summer the Democrats and Republicans were fighting over whether or not to increase the interest for student loans. Thankfully the Democrats won that fight, but if they had lost that fight, all of us college students would pay $10,000 more in interest. “
These interest rates are very important to students like Kayla Jackson, a senior Economics major from Spelman College, who is using loans to pay for college. Jackson said she also feels this legislation is important, especially for HBCUs, which are mostly privately owned.
“Because a lot of HBCU’s are privately owned, we don’t get public aid,” said Jackson. “So, students have to get loans or outside sources to pay for school. What Obama is trying to do is basically cut down that financial burden for us.”
And for some American students, college debt is getting too steep to pay. According the Project on Student Debt, college seniors carry an average of $24,000 in student debt. Jaime Shute, a senior, Journalism major from Florida A&M University, said that the other side (GOP) wants to increase this average.
“Both sides are very different,” said Shute. “For students, clearly President Barack Obama has put education first with the Pell Grant. And the other side is willing to double tuition rates and cut Pell Grants.”
Although many young Americans prefer Obama, the task is getting them to the polls to vote. President Barack Obama urges all young people to register to vote, and to show up to cast their ballots on November 7th.
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