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Spanish-language Obama ad touts student loan reforms

Romney would invite private lenders back into system

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012 | 11:33 a.m.

Obama Education Ad (En Español)

Romney Education Ad (En Español)

On the heels of National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, President Barack Obama's campaign released new Spanish-language TV and radio ads, both of which discuss education and point Hispanic voters to a website where they can register to vote.

Both ads direct people to votemostodos.org (we all vote), an Obama campaign web page in Spanish that has a section for filling out voter registration information and relevant dates.

The ads focuses on Obama administration education initiatives, particularly student loan reform that was included in the health care reform legislation in 2010.

The television ad first shows video of Mitt Romney accepting the GOP nomination for president.

“President Romney... What would that mean?” a narrator then asks in Spanish. “For our kids, a steeper climb to college.”

Next, several Hispanic students are shown next to a static headshot of Romney while the narrator lays what “could” happen.

“Up to 2 million Hispanic students could see their Pell grants cut by almost a thousand dollars,” the ad says in Spanish. “Thousands more would lose their federal work study.”

The student loan reform legislation cut out private banks that added as intermediaries between students and federal student loan programs. An estimated $68 billion in savings over 11 years is to be used for expanding Pell grants and to make it easier for student to pay off loans after graduation. The legislation also designated $2 billion in investments in community colleges over four years to provide education and career training programs.

Students who borrow money starting in July 2014 can cap repayments at a lower rate than previously allowed. If they keep up payments, the balances will be forgiven after 20 years, instead of 25 years. Those in public service, can receive loan forgiveness ater 10 years.

The ads coincides with a push by the president this week to highlight education issues. The Obama campaign released a report highlighting several of the administration’s educational initiatives, such as waiver to states, including Nevada, that allowed local school districts to adjust their benchmarks for progress while relieving them from certain mandates stipulated by No Child Left Behind. As part of he recovery act of 2009, $2.1 billion was set aside for Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

Romney has said he would bring private banks back into the fold.

“The theme of President Obama’s campaign might be ‘Forward,’ but his policies have taken young Americans in the wrong direction," Yohana De La Torre, a Romney spokeswoman, said in response to the ad. "Half of recent college graduates can’t find full–time work, college costs have increased, and most Americans say college is unaffordable. Young Americans deserve better. Mitt Romney has a plan to jumpstart the economy and ensure that young Americans have the same opportunity to find work and live the American Dream as previous generations.”

In a white paper on education at mittromney.com the former Massachusetts governor lays out some of his education plan, including the student loan industry.

“When the Obama Administration and the Democratic Congress nationalized the student loan market, they drove away private lenders and moved a trillion-dollar obligation to the federal balance sheet," the white paper states. "A Romney Administration will embrace a private-sector role in providing information, financing, and education itself, working with effective businesses to support the goals of students and their families. For instance, while President Obama’s idea of sound advice to student borrowers is a promise that their loans will be forgiven if they cannot afford to repay them, Romney supports private-sector involvement to ensure students are clearly informed about their obligations when they apply for federal student loans, and that they receive support that goes beyond a call from a collections agent to help keep them on track to repayment.”

The Romney campaign released its own Spanish-language ad on education late last week. In the ad, Obama is targeted for increasing costs of higher education and rising student debt during his first term.

Neither ad is short on dramatic force. The Romney ad ends with Obama "has failed our children," while the Obama ad released Wednesday concludes: “Register today to make sure Romney doesn’t shut these doors.”

The Obama radio ad then encourages viewers to vote and references votemostodos.org. Voter registration by mail or online closes on Oct. 6, however in-person registration at the county registrar of voters is open until Oct. 16.

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