Entries in Colleges (4)


Obama Kicks Off Campaign College Tour as Isaac Churns

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As Isaac bears down on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, President Obama hits the campaign trail undeterred on Tuesday for a two-day college tour meant to energize younger voters and steal some of the spotlight from the Republican National Convention in Florida.

Officials at Obama campaign headquarters in Chicago said they were closely monitoring the storm but decided to proceed with scheduled rallies at Iowa State University in Ames Tuesday afternoon and Colorado State University in Ft. Collins Tuesday evening.  Obama has an event planned near the University of Virginia in Charlottesville on Wednesday.

“The President and his team will continue to monitor the storm and he will receive briefings throughout the day,” an Obama campaign official told ABC News.  ”There are no scheduling updates at this time.”

Obama, who relied on unprecedented enthusiasm and turnout among younger voters in 2008, is making an aggressive push to engage college students just as they return to campus for the new academic year.  Classes at Iowa State and Colorado State began last week; the University of Virginia begins on Tuesday.

Greeting students on 256 campuses across 31 states are Obama organizing teams ready to enlist new volunteers, register first-time voters and spread the word about getting out to vote in 70 days, according to a new campaign website targeting younger voters.

“The president will talk about what is at stake for young people in this country and the choice they face as we look ahead to the election in November,” said Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki of the president’s visits.

Tops among the issues Obama will address are college affordability, Psaki said, including the administration’s record of increasing federal student aid to broaden access to higher education and help reduce debts.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign said it would stress the disproportionately high rate of joblessness among younger Americans and recent college graduates during Obama’s term.  A full page ad greeting Obama in the Iowa State Daily highlights that roughly half of new college grads are unemployed or underemployed, while the youth unemployment rate is roughly double the national average, or 16.4 percent.

But while Obama -- and Isaac -- compete for the spotlight on Tuesday, Republicans huddling in Tampa, Fla., said they were determined to take center stage, pressing ahead with their convention schedule despite the storm.  And Democrats in Tampa signaled they are poised to follow suit.

Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced they would hold their first press conference in a “war room” just a stone’s throw from the RNC convention hall, while in the skies above Tampa, the Democratic National Committee planned to deploy an airplane toting a banner that reads: “Romney-Ryan-Akin: Too Extreme for Women.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama's Address: Cracking Down On For-Profit Colleges that Prey On Veterans

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is touting his efforts to protect veterans from the deceptive practices of some for-profit colleges that aggressively prey on service members.

In his weekly address, the president described how some educational institutions target veterans, bombarding them with emails and phone calls as they steer potential students toward high-interest loans they cannot afford.

“The sad truth is that there are people out there who are less interested in helping our men and women in uniform get ahead and more interested in making a buck,” the president said. “That’s appalling.  It’s disgraceful.  And even though the vast majority of schools do the right thing, we need to guard against the bad actors who don’t.”

During a visit to Fort Stewart, Ga., on Friday the president signed an executive order cracking down on these improper recruiting practices, “making life a whole lot more secure for our service members, veterans and their families – and a whole lot tougher for anyone who tries to prey on them,” he explained.

The order requires schools to provide veterans with the “Know Before You Owe” form, a document that “lays out all the information they need about financial aid and paying for college.” Schools will also be required to offer counseling to help students finish their degree if they have to move or deploy.

“When our men and women in uniform succeed, our country succeeds.  They have our back – now it’s our turn to have theirs,” the president concluded.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Courts Young Voters With Student Loan Appeal

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Wooing the young voters crucial to his re-election, President Obama Tuesday launched a passionate campaign-style appeal to students as he pressed lawmakers to prevent the cost of college from rising.

Speaking to a rowdy crowd at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the president said he understands the financial burdens students face. “Michelle and I, we’ve been in your shoes,” Obama said. “We didn’t come from wealthy families.  When we graduated from college and law school, we had a mountain of debt.  When we married, we got poorer together.”

While the president did not call out the presumptive GOP nominee by name, he drew a sharp contrast between his background and that of Mitt Romney, who comes from a wealthier family. “This is something Michelle and I know about firsthand,” Obama said. “I didn’t just read about this....I didn’t just get some talking points about this. I didn’t just get a policy briefing on this.”

“Check this out, all right?  I’m the president of the United States.  We only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago,” he said to laughter from the crowd of roughly 8,000. “That wasn’t that long ago.”

While young voters still overwhelmingly support the president -- Obama enjoys a substantial 60- to 34-percent lead over Romney -- their interest has waned since 2008.

According to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, 63 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds took a major interest in the election in 2008. Today, just 45 percent have the same level of interest in this presidential election.

Obama is spending Tuesday and Wednesday visiting three key battleground states to push for low-rate college loans, wooing young voters while targeting a financial burden that hits the middle class and threatens the economic recovery.

In North Carolina, Obama urged lawmakers to extend a 2007 law that cut student loan rates to 3.4 percent. If Congress does not act, interest rates will double to 6.8 percent on July 1.

“For each year that Congress doesn’t act, the average student with these loans will rack up an additional thousand dollars in debt,” the president said. “That’s basically a tax hike for more than 7 million students across America, more than 160,000 students here in North Carolina alone.”

Obama is expected to make a similar argument at stops in Colorado and Iowa.

While Romney has come out in support of the extension, the president targeted Republican lawmakers who oppose the measure. “Republicans who run Congress right now have not yet said whether or not they’ll stop your rates from doubling.  We’re two months away,” Obama said, asking those watching to call, email or tweet their members of Congress.

The White House maintains the president’s trip this week is purely official business, but it was hard to ignore Obama’s campaign cadence as he riled up what appeared to be a largely supportive crowd.

“The fact is that since most of you were born, tuition and fees at America’s colleges have more than doubled. That forces students like you to take out a lot more loans.  There are fewer grants.  You rack up more debt.  Can I get an amen?” the president asked.

“Amen!” the crowd cheered.

“The average student who borrows to pay for college now graduates with about $25,000 in student loan debt.  That’s the average.  Some are more.  Can I get an amen for that?” Obama asked again.

“Amen!” the students replied.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama ‘Summits’ Planned on 10 Swing State Campuses

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(CHICAGO) -- The Obama campaign is stepping up mobilization of younger voters in 10 key swing states this month, dispatching senior aides and a handful of celebrities to college campuses for “summits” aimed at engaging the 18-to-29-year-old base.

The events will take place at Columbus State Community College in Ohio, University of Wisconsin-Madison, North Carolina Central University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Colorado-Boulder, Miami Dade College, and University of Iowa in Iowa City, among others, a campaign official said.

Campaign manager Jim Messina, who hosted the campaign’s first youth summit at the University of Pennsylvania late last year, will join senior strategist David Axelrod, deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter and field director Jeremy Bird in fanning out to make the pitch for Obama.

A few celebrities are also expected to participate, including actress and model Gabrielle Union and actor Kal Penn, who is also a former White House staffer.

The events are aimed at registering voters, enlisting new volunteers and adding names to the campaign’s contact lists for get-out-the-vote, an official said. Messina called the youth vote, which is reliably Democratic, essential to keeping Obama competitive in November. “Young Americans are at the foundation of this campaign and are going to make the difference in putting us over 270,” he said in a statement. “In 2008 their older brothers and sisters started this movement, and this year the more than 8 million 18-21 year olds are going to complete it.”

But polls show Obama may be challenged to ensure that they’ll turn out in force come November. A recent Pew Research Center study of voters ages 18 to 29 found that while they are strongly supportive of the president they are disengaged from the political process compared to the same point four years ago. Only 17 percent of millennials said they are following election news closely, while just 13 percent said they’ve given a lot of thought to the candidates, a 15 point drop since late 2007, the study found.

Republicans say comparatively high unemployment among younger voters will also make Obama’s campaign an uphill climb. “Young people are among the hardest hit by the struggling economy with unemployment well above the national average, and many who voted for Obama in 2008 thought they were getting Hope and Change,” said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski. “It’s going to be a much harder sell now that young voters realize he’s just another typical politician.”

The campaign calls its push for the youth vote “Greater Together,” a slogan that has taken a prominent role in Obama’s message on the stump.

“We’re greater together than we are on our own,” Obama said of his vision for the country at a San Francisco fundraiser Thursday. “Everybody should get a fair shot, everybody should do their fair share, and everybody should play by the same set of rules.”

“And when we do that, then the entire country does better,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio