By Patrick Neer | Echo
Students overburdened by loans, worry no longer. Or at least, worry less. President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Tuesday designed to help students manage their student loans, according to a White House fact sheet.
In an appearance at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Ga., according to a transcript of his remarks distributed by the White House, Obama called the memorandum the "Student Aid Bill of Rights," emphasizing the importance of being able to pay back student loans in a timely and straightforward manner. There, Obama stressed that the memorandum was simply the beginning of a larger initiative to protect student borrowers from exploitative lending practices.
"We're going to take a hard look at whether we need new laws to strengthen protections for all borrowers, wherever you get your loans from," Obama said.
The executive order is designed to tweak current federal lending policies, simplifying both the application process and the payment process for student loans.
Further, Obama's executive action requires banks that service federal loans to provide clear information to borrowers. The order stipulates that any fees charged are reasonable and that banks work with student borrowers to ensure students who struggle paying back their loans are able to have an easier time doing so, according to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
According to a White House teleconference held with student reporters, the average college student who borrows money to pay for school now graduates with $28,000 in student loan debt.
Obama expressed confidence during the conference call that his administration's work in student loan reform has already made a difference.
The president also cited personal experience with federal education aid to make the case for the reform.
"Michelle and I have gone through this ourselves," Obama said. "We wouldn't be here where we are if it weren't for the fact that we got grants and loans and work study. We've got to make sure that those same tools (remain) for young people."