Obama’s “Pay As You Earn” plan meets split reactions

On Oct. 25, President Barack Obama addressed an audience at a campaign event in Denver, Colo. and announced his "Pay As You Earn" plan.

Starting in 2012, this plan will lower monthly student loan payments from 15 percent of disposable income to 10 percent for over 1.6 million borrowers.

After 20 years of consistent payments, the plan will forgive the remainder of the debt. Currently, student loan debt is forgiven after 25 years.

The proposal will also provide 6 million college students and recent college graduates the opportunity to consolidate their federal student loans and reduce their interest rates. With the decrease in monthly payment rates to 10 percent, borrowers are expected to save hundreds of dollars each month.

This effort is an attempt to provide more immediate relief to both current college students and recent college graduates.

Obama will use his executive authority to force this plan through rather than wait for Congressional Republicans to accept it.

"Until Congress does act, I will continue to do everything in my power to act on behalf of the American people," said Obama.

 "College graduates are entering one of the toughest job markets in recent memory," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "We have a way to help them save money by consolidating their debt and capping their loan payments.  And we can do it at no cost to the taxpayer."

According to the Miami Herald, Republicans are skeptical about the feasibility of this cost-free plan and the purity of Obama's motivations.

GOP candidates during their Thursday evening debate agreed amongst each other that Obama's use of executive authority in this situation is an abuse of power.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R) from Wyoming said that, "We are left with more questions than answers."

Other republicans believe that this announcement is nothing more than Obama's attempt to secure the youth vote in the 2012 presidential election.  

Many democrats stand behind the president, believing that the money saved by borrowers each month will be circulated back into the economy, allowing for more national economic growth.

During an address to students at Georgetown on Friday, former President Bill Clinton declared his support for Obama's "Pay As You Earn" proposal.

While some college students have responded enthusiastically to Obama's plan, many students have expressed their doubts.

"The plan sounds great, but where is the money coming from?" junior Nathanael Geraci questioned.

"This plan appears legitimate at first, but there are so many factors that are unexplained," said freshman Elisabeth Piper.

"While I think that this plan is good in principle, I don't think that debt forgiveness is a good idea. I think that students should just continue to make payments at reasonable rates and low interest," freshman Sean Malone said