Weekly Address: A Student Aid Bill of Rights
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Weekly Address: A Student Aid Bill of Rights

September 10, 2019


The President:
Hi, everybody. Earlier this week, I visited
with students at Georgia Tech to talk about the importance of
higher education in the new economy, and how we can
make it more affordable. In an economy increasingly
built on innovation, the most important skill you
can sell is your knowledge. That’s why higher education
is, more than ever, the surest ticket
to the middle class. But just when it’s never
been more important, it’s also never
been more expensive. The average undergrad who
borrows to pay for college ends up graduating with about
$28,000 in student loan debt. That’s why my Administration has
worked hard to make college more affordable. We expanded tax credits
and Pell Grants, enacted the largest reform
to student loan programs in history, and fought to keep
interest rates on student loans low. We’ve acted to let millions of
graduates cap loan payments at 10 percent of their income,
so they don’t have to choose between paying the rent and
paying back their debt. I’ve sent Congress my plan to
bring the cost of community college down to zero – because
two years of higher education should be as free and universal
as high school is today. But all of us – elected
officials, universities, business leaders – everybody –
needs to do more to bring down college costs. Which is why this week, I
unveiled another way that we can help more Americans
afford college. It doesn’t involve any new
spending or bureaucracy. It’s a simple declaration of
values – what I call a Student Aid Bill of Rights. It says that every student
deserves access to a quality, affordable education. Every student should be able to
access the resources to pay for college. Every borrower has the right to
an affordable repayment plan. And every borrower has the right
to quality customer service, reliable information,
and fair treatment, even if they struggle
to repay their loans. That’s it. Just a few simple principles. But if we all rally
around these principles, there’s a lot that
colleges, lenders, and the people you sent to
Washington and to your state legislatures can do to realize
them across the country. So if you believe in a Student
Aid Bill of Rights that will help more Americans pay
for a quality education, I’m asking you to visit WhiteHouse.gov/CollegeOpportunit y. Sign your name to
this declaration. Tell your families, and your
friends, and fellow students. I’m going to ask Members
of Congress, and lenders, and as many business
leaders as I can find. Because making sure that
students aren’t saddled with debt before they even get
started in life is in all our interests. In America, a higher education
cannot be a privilege reserved for only the few. It has to be available to
everybody who’s willing to work for it. Thanks, and have
a great weekend.

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