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Obama announces plan to lower student loan payments

Students study with their laptop computers in the Pedagogical Library at the Freie Universitaet university on September 20, 2011 in Berlin, Germany.

Kai Ryssdal: In his latest attempt to get something going on the economy, President Obama announced a plan today to lower student loan payments. To basically reduce the maximum possible payments and essentially forgive remaining debt after 20 years, instead of 25, as it is now.

An admittedly unscientific Marketplace in-house survey this morning made it clear there a lot of people still paying down their college or graduate school -- years after they got out.

We called around to get some other perspectives.

Colin Malone: My name's Colin Malone. I am from Portland, Maine. My monthly payment comes to around $620 a month. It's a substantial amount, especially if you take into account of rent and just cost of living. You know, it definitely holds me back in some areas; I'm renting an apartment right now with roommates. I don't drive a brand new car. As far as savings goes, that's been a tough thing the last couple of years, for sure.

Betsey Harvery: I'm Betsey Harvery, and I'm from New Brunswick, N.J. I have about $35,000 worth of loans, and I expect to start paying the loans off about six months after I graduate, so that'd be October or November 2012. I would estimate I would have to pay about $300 a month. Three hundred dollars a month is pretty significant, I think, especially for a starting salary.

Clifford Edwards: I'm Clifford Edwards from Houston, Texas. I'm 52. I do have student loans. Including interest, my balance is up to $93,000. I don't ever see me being able to pay that off -- I mean, that's more than a house costs. It's devastating, it's like this huge guillotine hanging over my head. You know, I haven't had a car in over a decade.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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