Kal Penn, Actor and Political Activist, Talks Student Loans at CMU
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Dozens of students gathered at Colorado Mesa University to hear Kal Penn, actor and political activist, speak on behalf of the Obama campaign.
"Particularly for young people, whether they're on the right or the left, college affordability and jobs obviously are two of the huge issues. The president doubled the Pell Grant and created the college tax credit, worth about $10,000 over the course of four years," said Penn.
Policies that help minimize student loans catch the ears of college students like Caleb Ferganchisk.
"I'm definitely in debt ... I think it's becoming more common for college students to wind up in debt," said Ferganchisk.
A recent analysis by the Pew Research Center finds that to be true.
Nineteen percent of Americans had college debt in 2010, the biggest three-year increase in two decades.
The study says that because of the economy, fewer college students than before are able to settle into full-time careers right after graduation.
"Because our economy is basically dependent right now on what's going on at Wall Street, we don't see a lot of jobs growing in any other sector," said Ferganchisk.
Penn said wanting the government to make higher education a priority is something he hears about often.
"At a lot of events like these, we've got young folks who are on the left and on the right, and what I think is really dynamic is no matter what their political affiliation is, most of them would agree that it is the role of the federal government to subsidize education and make college more affordable," said Penn.
Several students in the audience agreed.
"I try really hard to pay back as they pile up," said CMU student Jessica Malone.
"My parents don't really help out a whole lot with college so it's all on me, and I definitely agree with the whole thing he was saying about Obama trying to help students out," said Kegan Pfeiffer, a student at CMU.
"Making it so everyone can have access to a quality education that can give them a quality job is definitely something that's important, and I don't think it should really be a partisan issue," said Ferganchisk.
Penn also reminded students about the importance of registering to vote before the Oct. 9 deadline, so that no matter where you stand, you can express your opinions in the polls.