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VOICES

Obama Signs Legislation on Stafford; WH Says Young Voices and Activism Are to Thank [VIDEO]

President Obama will sign legislation this afternoon to extend the cap on the Stafford loan rate, ending with a stroke of a pen what has been a long and challenging campaign for young people, student activists, and educational loan borrowers nationwide who used social media and grassroots organizing push Congress action. The bill, which prevents the interest rate from doubling to a whopping 6.8 percent, will save an average of $1,000 in accrued interest for students who rely on Stafford loans to finance their education, impacting more than 7.4 million students and their families.

The bill, which passed both houses last Friday, could not have happened without dedicated young people who worked with youth-led and youth advocacy groups like Campus Progress, the United States Student Association (USSA), Rebuild the Dream and others —who helped amplify their message across social media networks, and in-person with facilitated meetings with Senators.

Members of student organizations met with White House staff to discuss their personal student debt stories, and to address how their loans will impact them in the future. "It was really refreshing to hear him [the President] engage my generation," said Campus Progress intern Sharon Reshef said during the video, entitled "Why Your Voice Matters on Student Debt". "I know that this is something that affects not only me, but millions of other kids my age."

“What they have to say was a powerful reminder of how everyday Americans can make their voices resonate in Washington,” said Senior Advisor to the President David Plouffe in a statement released Friday of the efforts by the youth movement mobilized via Twitter and on the ground. “They talked about what this legislation means, and why it was so important to speak out on this issue."

Christopher Boan is a journalism intern with Campus Progress.

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