Day 2 of White House focus on student loans

 

The White House will make student borrowing its focus for a second straight day Tuesday with the release of a new report showing the "crushing" impact of student debt.

The release of the report coincides with an event featuring President Obama and Tumblr CEO David Karp, who will pepper the president with questions submitted by users of his blog and social media network.

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That event comes a day after Obama signed an executive order that expands a student loan repayment program capping monthly payments to 10 percent of an individual's discretionary income. The White House says as many as 5 million additional Americans will now qualify for the program, which also provides loan forgiveness for certain workers in the public sector.

A White House aide said the president is engaging in "a weeklong messaging push" intended to urge Congress to take up a bill offered by Senate Democrats allowing borrowers to refinance their loans at lower rates.

Obama is likely to use the Tumblr event to highlight some of the granular data in the student debt report, which breaks down the total number of federal loan borrowers in each state — and the outstanding debt they owe. In California alone, students owe more than $103 million in student debt. Since 2003, total student debt has increased from $250 billion to $1.1 trillion nationwide.

According to the White House, Tumblr users have submitted "thousands of questions" for the president. More than 40 percent of users of the website, which sees 350 million unique visitors each month, are aged between 18-34 years old.

On Monday, Obama acknowledged that many might question, "what does he know about Tumblr?"

"But you will recall that I have two teenage daughters, so that I am hip to all these things," Obama joked. "Plus I have all these 20-somethings who are working for me all the time."