Thousands stood in line at the University Memorial Center in Boulder over the weekend hoping to get one of the free tickets available to watch President Barack Obama's campus speech on Tuesday.
Continuing on his topic for this week's presidential address, the President will be using his speaking events Tuesday and Wednesday to urge Congress to hold the interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans at their current 3.4 percent. The federally-backed loan program helps make college more affordable for low- and middle-income undergraduates. But if the law cutting the interest rates for the program expires, the rates will double July 1 to 6.8 percent, or the current rate for unsubsidized loans.
To get students involved online, The White House is launching a related social media campaign with the hashtag #DontDoubleMyRate.
A press release from the White House argues that the interest rate increase would affect over 7.4 million students around the country and add an average of $1,000 to their education debt.
According to the Denver Post, there are 166,693 students with Stafford loans in Colorado and the extension of the interest cuts would save borrowers about $961 a year.
"In America, higher education cannot be a luxury," President Obama said during his weekly address. "It's an economic imperative that every family must be able to afford."
The Colorado Daily reports that 4,500 tickets were available for University of Colorado at Boulder students, about 1,000 for faculty and staff, and an undisclosed number made available to the public.
While the lines to obtain tickets for the President's speech were typically long, it hasn't meant an absence of protestor presence either.
Occupy Boulder, an extension of the Occupy Wall Street protest, posted this on their Facebook page while the lines wrapped through campus Sunday:
President Obama will be at CU Boulder speaking Tuesday night, and we want him to know that he has failed to keep his promises to us. Gas prices are on the rise, college costs are skyrocketing, and employment for young Americans is at its lowest level in recorded history. He is failing our college students and recent graduates, and we deserve better. Make some signs telling the president how you feel, and come out to a peaceful event Tuesday morning prior to the president’s speech!"
The President will also be making campus stops in North Carolina and Iowa, all considered battleground states in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. President Obama carried all three states in 2008, but they're still considered up for grabs again this year.
An unsettling analysis of government data obtained by the Associated Press Sunday found that one in two college graduates are jobless or underemployed in positions that aren't making use of their skill set acquired by their degree.
The bid for student votes is not being lost on Mitt Romney either.
On Monday, 2012 Presidential GOP nominee also announced his support for the extension measure.
President Obama will be speaking at the University of Colorado Boulder's Coors Events Center at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 24. Attendees may enter the event center from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and must present their signed ticket along with a valid ID. No backpacks, containers or weapons of any kind will be allowed in the venue.
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