Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
Sara Valentine is a registered Democrat and a fall Fellow Intern for the Obama Campaign.
By now you’ve heard that President Barack Obama will be visiting Ohio State Tuesday, but do you know what he’s done for students like me and you over the last four years? Any idea how his vision for the next four years impacts us? You might think that the election this November won’t affect you. You might think that it will be business as usual regardless of who wins. Well, let me debunk that right now. From what we know about Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s plan, it would make deep spending cuts across board, including cuts that would devastate Ohio students.
Obama has a record of fighting for us. He has taken historic steps to make college more affordable for middle-class families. He doubled the value of Pell Grant scholarships so that nearly 10 million students would receive college scholarship aid. He removed big banks as middlemen in the student-lending industry and extended college tax credits to Ohio families. In Ohio, 349,000 students and families received a college tax credit to help cover the cost of tuition, fees and books. And the president fought hard to keep interest rates low on federal student loans. He also capped federal student loan payments at 10 percent of monthly income, which, starting as soon as this year, will help more than 1.6 million students manage their monthly payments. And he made sure that we could get affordable health care by allowing us to stay on our parent’s insurance until 26 years old. This is how our president is fighting for us. He will continue this progress and more in his second term.
The Romney-Ryan plan would eliminate Obama’s college tax credit, making college out of reach for some middle-class families. Under the Romney-Ryan budget, more than 356,000 Ohio students who rely on Pell grants would see their scholarships cut, and 5,390 work-study positions for Ohio students would be eliminated. Where would these funds go instead of helping us? Under the Romney-Ryan plan? They would go to millionaires in the form of tax cuts.
Obama understands what we face when we graduate, especially when it comes to paying off college loans. Both the president and the first lady said they just paid off their own loans eight years ago. That’s why the president reformed federal student loans and is making it easier for us to pay back ours. He wants you to have the same pathway to opportunity he and the first lady had. Obama understands that for some students, the cost of school is the deciding factor whether to stay in class or drop out. The Romney-Ryan plan would put the future of so many Ohio students in jeopardy.
It’s not too late to get involved, to register to vote and to make your voice heard. You have the power to choose which direction we go, so make it count. Visit GottaVote.com to find out where, when and how to vote. Then vote early so you can help get more folks to the polls on Election Day. Early voting in Ohio started on Oct. 2 and make sure you are registered by Oct. 9. The great thing about Obama is that he backs up his word with actions. It’s up to us to defend that progress and keep moving us forward.