Obama proposes ‘Pay As You Earn’

The Obama administration announced Tuesday it is proceeding with a new “Pay As You Earn” proposal that would reduce monthly payments for more than 1.5 million college students who currently owe money on student loans.

The proposal will cap college students’ monthly loan payments at 10 percent of their discretionary income. Students would also be forgiven the balance of their debt after 20 years of payments.

This is an expedited version of a measure planned for 2014 in which all borrowers will be able to similarly reduce their payments.

Current law limits borrowers’ payments to 15 percent of their discretionary income and forgives remaining debt after 25 years of consistent payments.

“In a global economy, putting a college education within reach for every American has never been more important,” President Barack Obama said, regarding the proposal.  “But it’s also never been more expensive. That’s why today we’re taking steps to help.”

Additional measures are also being taken to improve the way borrowers can manage their money.

As part of the Know Before You Owe project, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released Monday a Financial Aid Shopping Sheet. This sheet will help students easily compare financial aid packages offered by different institutions. It also makes the total long-term costs of student loans clear to students before they choose to enroll at a specific college.

The United States Small Business Administration and the Young Entrepreneur Council, meanwhile, have each launched programs to help young entrepreneurs with their federal student loan obligations.

The YEC will invest $10 million to pay the remaining student loan obligations of young entrepreneurs across the country.

Pay As You Earn is part of a larger series of executive actions to strengthen the American economy, Obama said.