Student Loan Forgiveness Addressed By White House In Response To Online Petition

"We The People" gets its first response

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Student Loan Forgiveness Addressed By White House In Response To Online Petition
[ Social Media]

Back in September, the White House launched an online petition platform that they said would “give all Americans a way to create and sign petitions on a range of issues affecting our nation.”

The platform, called We The People, is open to anyone 13 or older. Once you create a petition and submit it to the site, it’s your job to build momentum for your idea using social media and old-fashioned word of mouth. If a petition reaches 150 signatures in 30 days, it because logged and searchable within the database. If the petition reaches 25,000 signatures, it gets an official response from the White House.

The original threshold for a response was 5,000 signatures in 30 days, but it appears that the White House wasn’t going to be able to respond to all of the petitions that got that many signatures, so the limit was raised.

The first petition to merit a response from the White House has just gotten its response. The petition for the Obama administration to “Forgive Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy and Usher in a New Era of Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Prosperity” currently has over 32K signatures on the We The People site.

Forgiving student loan debt would provide an immediate jolt to the economy by putting hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of extra dollars into the hands of people who WILL spend it – not just once, but each and every month thereafter – freeing them up to invest, buy homes, start businesses and families.

That’s what the petition’s creator, Robert A of Staten Island says about his proposal.

The White House’s special assistant to the President for Education Policy has responded, saying –

We agree that reducing the burden of student loans is an effective way to stimulate the economy and save taxpayer dollars. That’s why we’re excited to announce a new policy that speaks to the concerns expressed in this petition.

The response goes on to explain the situation of student debt in the country and then links to the official press release concerning Obama’s new plan to lower student debt payments. Here’s the crux of the plan –

The Administration is moving forward with a new “Pay As You Earn” proposal that will reduce monthly payments for more than one and a half million current college students and borrowers. Starting in 2014, borrowers will be able to reduce their monthly student loan payments to 10 percent of their discretionary income. But President Obama realizes that many students need relief sooner than that. The new “Pay As You Earn” proposal will allow about 1.6 million students the ability to cap their loan payments at 10 percent starting next year, and the plan will forgive the balance of their debt after 20 years of payments. Additionally, starting this January an estimated 6 million students and recent college graduates will be able to consolidate their loans and reduce their interest rates.

Current income-based plans allow students to cap their payments to 15% of discretionary income, with remaining debt forgiven after 25 years. The new plan expedites a plan enacted by Congress set to go into effect in 2014.

Obama also unveiled the plan while speaking at the University of Colorado in Denver this afternoon.

Whether you believe that this is a good use of the web and social media or you feel skeptical about the power of individuals to enact change in this way, you have to admit that it’s a pretty interesting coordination of online presence and domestic politics. Whether you believe in the plan or not, it is interesting that the President unveiled a plan, it seems, based on the most-signed online petition on We The People.

Student Loan Forgiveness Addressed By White House In Response To Online Petition
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  • Joe Morrow

    Getting the response was good, however people who have student loans should be given forgiveness after ten years. Free the hard working people of the USA who went to school to learn and got up to their ears in debt.


  • Ben

    I’m an undergraduate who will be leaving school this year with only about $20k in debt. I have to say this is one of the worst ideas I have heard. This plan is going to spend more of our money because other people made decisions they could not afford. There are plenty of options for places to go to school these days and we shouldn’t be stuck paying for the people who chose to go to Ivy league schools and got over their heads in debt.

  • angie

    Its amazing that people are talking about student loan forgiveness as if it is a bad thing. The government can bail out the big companies and we as the people get nothing, has the gas gone down…no, the big companies can take jobs from the US and still nothing is done but now the little people who probably went to school to get that job, that got laid off or can’t find a job doing what they want to do are getting some type of break; if they are still paying or struggling with this debt and now there is all this hype. Please, do like you’ve been doing…let it go through. Little guys need a break, since you can take, take, take, take the debt and give us some breathing room again.

  • Kyle

    This is a misleading article. I would like to point out a couple sections here that are 100% misleading.

    I’d like to point to this quote: “The first petition to merit a response from the White House has just gotten its response.”

    The first petition to be posted and to merit a response from the white house was the petition to “Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol.” started by NORML and reached the 5,000 needed votes within hours of being posted.

    Let’s go ahead and move onto the last part of the article that said: “Whether you believe in the plan or not, it is interesting that the President unveiled a plan, it seems, based on the most-signed online petition on We The People.”

    What seems most interesting Mr.Wolford that weather you believe it or not, the petition I just stated has earned over 73000 signatures. When I personally signed it on September 30th 2011, I was signature 44,527 and that largely outweighs this so called “most-signed online petition” that was closed with a total of 32008 signatures.

    I am in collage and this also directly affects me as well, but please next time check your journalistic ethics and check the facts. Both you and the Obama administration need to understand that this issue will not just be swept under the rug anymore.


  • joyce

    Those with student loans from several years ago will not benefit at all. The response is very limited in who can benefit. It is insufficient but maybe a start. Angie, those people have not realized yet how impossible repayment is for those who cant find good jobs. They have little concept of reality. They feel superior because they can afford to repay– for now– and are too arrogant to see that changing. Unfortunately for them, it is likely many of them will join the ranks of the un/ underemployed soon. Then they might see things differently when they are called a deadbeat or told to shut up and get a job.

  • Bo

    First let me get a little something off my chest…Ben you are an ass. I have a serious problem with these states who are GIVING FREE education to illegal imigrants. I feel that they should not be allowed to attend college in OUR country. And another thing that gripes my ass is the fact that loan forgiveness was taken away from nurses working in small rural hospitals. I am one of those nurses. I am in no way having any difficulty repaying my loans…but thanks to BUSH what once was forgiven has been thrown back into my lap. I had been forgiven of my loans only to end up repaying them for the total amount plus accrued interest for the four years duing the forgiveness. I am a little ticked off with our education/student loan situation. And, Ben, your still an ass.

  • William

    It’s called “buying your vote”. Obama is getting more desperate by the day.

  • William

    Has anyone realized that 10% of your income is still an insane amount of $?

  • Sandra

    I think they need to first start by listening to complaints from students regarding specific institutional promises that have not been met. I was told when doing months of research regarding the best programs in relation to the best available school that I could “walk out the door and get hired in your field even with no experience. Most employers are very willing to hire new grads and we have a 97% successful placement rate.” Really?? Well, $55,000.00 in student loan debt later for an associates that is basically worthless, I have NOT been hired in my field after 2 years of constant job applications and interviews. The standard reply of “qualifications not met. No experiance” does not sound like successful placement to me! It was money well spent for that education wasnt it? I think student loan forgiveness needs to start with students who were basically suckered into getting their education at institutions who gave a sense of false hope and future job security. If President Obama would like to contact me, I would be more than willing to give him an earful on my thoughts of student loan forgiveness!


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  • Mark Avila

    At least, they need to allow people to “refinance” already consolidated fixed student loans to a lower rate. This would solve some of the problems because there is little principle balance reduction, thus the reason people go into default. This problem of not allowing to lower fixed rates on student loans seriously needs to be addressed…sooner than later!

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