Obama Spends The Week Talking Loans, Bad Deals For Students
President signs order to stem colleges that target minorities, take millions in veterans’ GI money
The Obamas know a little something about student loan debt.
Between the two of them, Barack and Michelle Obama say they racked up so much debt that they only recently finished paying it off.
The president, fittingly, finished a week of events around the country, talking about student loan rates and the dangers facing prospective students, many of them military veterans hoping to receive an education through the GI bill.
On Friday, Obama signed an executive order that puts limits on recruiters at for-profit colleges, who have a reputation for aggressive targeting of veterans and minorities.
“You go online to try and find the best school for military members …” Obama said, speaking to service men and women at Fort Stewart in Georgia.
“You end up on a website that looks official. They ask you for your email, they ask you for your phone number. They promise to link you up with a program that fits your goals. Almost immediately after you’ve typed in all that information, your phone starts ringing. Your inbox starts filling up. You’ve never been more popular in your life,” Obama said.
[ALSO READ: Obama Slow Jams Student Loan News On Fallon]
A sergeant, who introduced the first lady and the president, told that very story. Instead of finding the help he needed at the college, he found he’d been “dealing with folks who aren’t interested in helping you,” as Obama later said.
“They’re not interested in helping you find the best program. They are interested in getting the money. They don’t care about you; they care about the cash.”
The executive order makes it harder for the colleges to mislead veterans who will use the GI bill to pay for their educations, including a “crack down on improper online recruiting practices” and a complaint system when veterans feel they are being taken advantage of.
According to a study the Center for College Affordability, “in 2007, students who are black, Hispanic, Asian or American Indian accounted for nearly 40% of total enrollment in for-profit schools.”
That rate of enrollment outpaces that of non-profit and public colleges and universities. For-profit schools account for the largest number of students who default on their educational loans, and are often criticized for not producing few career-ready graduates.
Obama’s student loan week also included a stop by Jimmy Fallon’s late night show, during which he slow jammed the news. The segment featured news of the House vote to keep student loan rates from doubling in July.
The White House, on Friday, signaled the president might veto a bill that passed the House because it pays for the student loan relief by dipping into a healthcare reform fund.