BOUDLER, Colo. (CBS4) – President Obama is in Colorado to promote low interest rates for federal student loans.
In July the so-called Stafford Rates will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Both Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney want the current lower rate to be extended. Obama is pushing Congress to get that done now.
The president visited the University of North Carolina earlier Tuesday. He’ll visit Iowa City and the University of Iowa on Wednesday. He’s telling students their success is vital to the country.
There is good reason Obama is reaching out to students — he needs their vote if he wants to win Colorado.
Thousands of students turned out early to see the president at the Coors Event Center on the University of Colorado campus in Boulder. The younger voters played a critical role in Obama winning Colorado in 2008.
Voters under the age of 30 outnumbered those over the age of 65 by nine percent in 2008. This year the young voters are even a greater force.
Young voters are registering in record numbers in Colorado this year. They say they won’t be ignored.
“It feels awesome to register to vote,” a CU freshman told CBS4.
More than 650,000 people under the age of 30 have registered to vote in Colorado this year. In 2008 that age group made up 17 percent of all voters with 539,827 registered. This year they are expected to make up 19 percent of all voters in the state.
One reason for the increase is because of groups like New Era Colorado, a Boulder-based organization.
“We’re registering people by the dozen every day,” Steve Fenberg with New Era Colorado said.
New Era Colorado’s mission is to engage young people in the political process. Fenberg is among a handful of people invited to meet the president.
“To win Colorado I think it comes down to a couple of factors. I think young people being right there next to him to be his volunteer army, as well as his voters, is important for him to have a victory in the fall,” Fenberg said.
But winning the young vote won’t be easy. Three of five college graduates in the Mountain West are unemployed or underemployed.
“I’m worried about my future,” a student said.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people who say they just can’t get jobs,” another student said.
CU is the second college campus Obama has visited in Colorado in just the last six months. Last fall he spoke on the Auraria campus in Denver.
No sitting president has ever visited the University of Colorado in Boulder, but not everyone on campus was welcoming the president. A group of CU student Republicans held a rally on campus. They were signs that said “Fire Obama” and “Where Are The Jobs?” The head of the Colorado Republican Party says the president’s trip is nothing more than a taxpayer funded campaign event.