President Obama addresses a crowd of students from UNLV to urge Congress to act to prevent interest rates from doubling on student loans. He made the remarks on the last stop of his two-day swing out west for fundraising and official events.
Las Vegas (CNN) -- President Barack Obama is trying to use the success of social media to get support for his proposal to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling at the end of the month.
While speaking to a crowd of 2,500 on the campus of University of Nevada-Las Vegas on Thursday, he urged students to pressure Congress for action by writing on their Facebook walls, and tweeting with the hashtag #dontdoublemy rate.
He told the students that if Congress doesn't act by July 1, interest rates on federal student loans will double, and that would end up costing the average student an additional $1000.
"At this make-or-break moment for America's middle class, we can't afford to have Congress take five months off. You've got to keep working. You're not suddenly just sitting around not doing anything," he told the crowd. "You should expect the same thing from your representatives in Washington, right ?"
Obama also said he and the first lady personally understood the burden of school loans.
"We were lucky enough to land good jobs. But even with those great jobs that we had, we only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago. Now, think about that," he told the audience. "I'm the president of the United States and it was only about eight years ago that I finished paying off my student loans. So I know what a lot of you are going through. I've been there. I have done that. "
He issued a presidential memorandum to the secretaries of Education and the Treasury on Thursday to improve the process for what the White House says will educate borrowers, and make it easier to pay back loans. Obama's stop at UNLV was an official event in the politically important state of Nevada and was the last stop on his two-day swing out West for what was mostly a fundraising tour.