"Why I Was at the White House Today"

Earlier today, the President signed a memorandum to make federal student loan debt more affordable and manageable to repay.

After the signing, Andy MacCracken, who introduced the President, sent the message below to the White House email list, explaining why the President's action was meaninful for him.

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Hey, everyone --

I owe more than $75,000 in federal student loan debt -- and that's before you count interest.

So, as you might imagine, the action President Obama took today to make debt more manageable for millions of Americans is very personal to me.

When I was growing up in Colorado, my parents worked multiple jobs and made plans to refinance our house just so they could afford to put me through college.

But when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer during my freshman year of high school, it meant the money they'd planned to use for my education went toward saving her life. Student loans made it possible for me to go to college and complete my education, but now they present a serious financial burden.

With tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, the only reason I'm not losing my mind is because I know my repayment will be manageable. Pay As You Earn, for example, means my monthly payments will be about $200 per month instead of nearly $900 per month.

Today, President Obama directed the Secretary of Education to propose regulations that would give nearly 5 million federal direct student loan borrowers like me the opportunity to cap their payments at 10 percent of their income. That's on top of steps he's already taken to keep interest rates low and expand income-based repayment programs.

That could not be more real for me -- and for millions of Americans across the country who have stories like mine. Maybe you're one of them.

So right now, there are two things you can do:

Right now, I'm surrounded by new graduates who want to improve the world around us -- as teachers, public servants, and, like me, as non-profit leaders.

The action this President is taking is helping to make sure finances aren't holding us back from achieving our potential.

And that's truly invaluable for me, my generation, and the nation as a whole.

Andy MacCracken
Arlington, Virginia

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