Biden pushes jobs plan, loan relief to Pitt students


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Vice President Joe Biden touted the Obama administration's jobs plan and student loan relief in a speech today at the University of Pittsburgh.

About 400 students packed the school's Alumni Hall in Oakland around noon to see Mr. Biden, who discussed two issues that have become priorities for the White House.

A slow economic recovery has failed to replace the jobs lost in the recession, and many students who took out large loans to pay for college have been unable to find work, or work that pays enough, to pay back their debt.

At the University of Pittsburgh, 63 percent of students take out loans to pay for their education, and at graduation, the average debt load is $26,000, Mr. Biden said.

PG VIDEO

More parents and students are asking whether the investment in a college education is worth it. Today, Mr. Biden told students it still is.

"It is worth it, because a college degree matters," he said.

There has long been, and there is still, a great disparity between the income and job security of college graduates and non-college graduates, he said.

But the burden of student loans and the anxiety about repaying them in a difficult job market is real, and Mr. Biden said a recent measure enacted by the Obama administration should provide some relief.

The plan unveiled by Mr. Obama reduces the maximum annual payment on federal student loans from 15 percent to 10 percent of disposable income starting in 2012, two years before the decrease was scheduled to start. The plan also forgives federal student loan debts after 20 years, down from 25 years.

The prospect of some help managing his student loans after college appealed to Kieran Moyle, a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh who said he wants to be a history teacher.

"The disparity between the debt and what I'll be making a year is a little overwhelming, but it's nice to know that they are addressing that," he said.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


Kaitlynn Riely: kriely@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1707.


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