Friday, October 26, 2012
In McCaskill ad, students rip Todd Akin for opposing student loans
(From the Claire McCaskill campaign)
Standing in front of The Columns on campus at the University of Missouri, a group of students today spoke with reporters about the importance of affordable student loans, and how Todd Akin’s extreme plans to eliminate the federal student loan program would hurt Missouri families hoping to send their kids to college. At the news conference, students framed the clear choice in Missouri’s U.S. Senate race between Akin’s extreme agenda and Claire McCaskill’s strong record of fighting to protect student loans and keeping college affordable for Missouri’s working families.
To underscore the students’ message, McCaskill for Missouri today announced a new web video -- the latest in a series of “Real Words” ads released this week -- featuring Missouri students speaking directly to camera about why they’re supporting Claire in this election, and expressing serious concerns about Todd Akin’s extreme beliefs on student loans and affordable higher education.
“Without federal student loans, I wouldn’t be able to afford college, so I’m grateful to have Claire as our Senator fighting for students like me,” said Mizzou student Syed Ejaz. “If there’s anything that makes me nervous for the future of our nation’s economy, it’s the extreme politicians like Todd Akin, whose policies would mean that only rich kids get to have a college degree.”
“It’s crucial for Missouri voters to know that Todd Akin wants to get rid of federal student loans, and thinks private banks should be the chief decider of which kids can go to college,” said Drew Stiehl, a recent Mizzou graduate. “Here’s what Claire understands and Todd Akin doesn’t: no private bank would have taken a risk on me as a 17-year-old with no credit history. I wouldn’t be standing here today if extreme politicians like Akin got to call the shots, but fortunately we’ve got Claire in the Senate fighting for us every day.”
“Claire knows what it means to take on student loan debt and work through college to pay the bills, so I know we can trust Claire to stand up for Missouri’s students and working families,” said Mizzou student Jacob Nicholson. “When I look at the choice in this election, it’s really important to me that Claire is a product of Missouri public education, while Todd Akin said the federal government should have no role in education whatsoever.”
Throughout this campaign, Todd Akin has repeatedly said he does not believe the federal government should be in the business of helping middle and low-income students afford higher education, and has supported efforts to eliminate Pell Grants and other federal college affordability programs that are utilized by more than 175,000 students in Missouri.
At a debate hosted by the University of Missouri College Republicans in April, Akin refused to support a plan to keep student loan rates affordable, saying he preferred a plan that would eliminate federal student loans and make for-profit institutions the only option for students who need financial aid to attend college or trade schools. Akin said at the debate that the government should not be in the student loan business, and went so far as to say that student loans were equivalent to "stage three cancer."
Since receiving his party's nomination for the Senate, Akin has not walked back on his comments, telling the Springfield News Leader in August, "I called a spade a spade."
As Missouri's Senator, Claire's made affordable higher education a top priority and has been a strong advocate for students and middle class families. In 2007, she passed long overdue legislation that increased the number and value of Pell Grants. She also passed a measure that provides loan forgiveness to public school teachers after 10 years on the job.
Claire recently returned to her roots as a waitress who, with the help of student loans, waited tables to pay her way through college and law school. To highlight the importance of student loans and the minimum wage, Claire visited Flat Branch Pub and Brewing in Columbia to wait tables and talk about these critical issues for Missouri’s working families.