Local Politics

Obama to discuss student loan debt at UNC

Posted April 20, 2012 10:20 a.m. EDT
Updated April 20, 2012 6:19 p.m. EDT

— In a visit to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill next week, President Barack Obama will launch an effort to get Congress to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.

Obama will visit UNC and the University of Colorado on Tuesday and the University of Iowa on Wednesday as part of the student loan effort.

Admission to hear the president speak at UNC's Carmichael Arena is free, and tickets will be distributed ahead of time at the arena, 310 South Road, on a first-come, first-served basis, beginning Sunday at 1 p.m. If tickets remain, they will be available again Monday at 10 a.m.

Carmichael Arena will open to ticket holders Tuesday at 10 a.m.

UNC administrators said classes won't be canceled on Tuesday, and faculty members will decide whether to grant excused absences to any students attending the president's speech.

Tuesday night's episode of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" will be taped at UNC during Obama's visit, and the president will make an appearance on the show. Ticket information about the taping was unavailable Friday.

The president last visited the Triangle in September, when he promoted his job-creation proposal in a speech at North Carolina State University.

More than 7.4 million students with federal student loans will see their interest rates double on July 1 unless legislation is passed to stop the interest rate increase, the White House said Friday. The higher rates would add $1,000 to the debt load of an average student, they said.

The White House said Americans now owe more on student loans than credit cards, and Obama believes interest rates need to be kept low so more people can afford college and obtain the skills they need to find good jobs.

Obama has visited North Carolina five times in the past year, most recently pushing for improved fuel-efficiency at a Freightliner truck plant in Mount Holly last month.