Millennials currently face a tougher job market than their parents did, but that isn't their only impediment. Hampering them before jobs are even a consideration, student loan debt has ballooned to monstrous proportions in the last few years. However, the problem has not gone unnoticed and some organizations and individuals are taking steps to alleviate the burden. Below is a truncated version of a press release from the White House regarding President Obama's acknowledgment of the situation and the steps that have been taken so far.
Last week, President Obama put forth his vision for continuing to build on the foundation we've laid for a strong, durable economy with secure middle class jobs. Thanks to the hard work and grit of the American people, we're moving forward again and one generation in particular – Millennials – will shape our economy for decades to come.
Millennials came of age during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In the face of these challenges, President Obama acted quickly to rebuild opportunity for all hardworking Americans, including Millennials. Together, we kept more teachers on the job to improve the quality of education for kids at our local schools. We cut subsidies to big banks so that we could make college more affordable by increasing Pell Grants. And we expanded health care coverage so that no one, including young people just getting their start, would go broke if they get sick.
There are still challenges to meet, but no generation has been better equipped to overcome them than Millennials. They're skilled with technology and more educated than any previous generation. Today's White House report details some of the key characteristics of the Millennial Generation as well as the impact that the Administration's policies have had on them.
To build on this progress, there is also a path forward. Acting with Congress and on his own where he can, President Obama will continue to invest in our teachers and schools, cut student loan debt, build on our technology boom, expand health coverage and homeownership, and train every hardworking American with the skills they need to find a good job that pays good wages.
Making Higher Education More Affordable for Millennials: While college is more important than ever before, it is also more expensive. President Obama has taken steps to make college more affordable and increase financial aid – while Republicans have called for rolling back these expansions of student aid and opposed efforts to allow students to refinance student loans.
- Increasing federal financial support for higher education. Higher education can be a pathway to the middle class for many people, but we have to ensure that students are able to afford this investment.
- Creating the American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college.
- Increasing Pell Grant scholarships by $1,000 a year, while reaching millions more students each year.
- Eliminating wasteful bank subsidies and passing along those savings to help more Americans afford college.
- Making student loan payments more affordable. President Obama created a new repayment plan allowing students to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of their discretionary income. In June 2014, the President directed the Department of Education to make this plan available to every direct student loan borrower, benefiting nearly 5 million current and former students. The President has also supported Congressional efforts to allow student loan borrowers to refinance their loans, saving thousands in interest costs, which Republicans in Congress have blocked.