President Barack Obama made an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to discuss the student loan crisis, the Secret Service scandal and to inject his famous presidential swagger into “slow jamming” the news. Obama sat with Fallon in front of an audience of college students to address subjects including the upcoming rise of student loan interest rates and the Secret Service scandal.
The president warned the audience of the impending loan rate rise and urged students to take action, including the use of social media, to prevent this change from happening. “The interest rates on your student loans are scheduled to go up on July 1st unless Congress acts,” said President Obama. “What we’ve been saying to folks is call, write [and] email your member of Congress [and] tell them ‘don’t double my rates!’ If you tweet, you can use that hashtag, #dontdoublemyrates.”
The interview comes on the heels of a report that half of college graduates are unemployed and underemployed, something Obama considers to be a great concern. He believes the country is not investing enough effort in education and that could affect the United States’ ability to compete. “If we keep under-investing in education, if we’re not able to compete, if we’re not able to produce engineers, scientists, math majors, we’re not going to be able to compete with countries like China [and] India and they have a lot more people than we do,” he remarked.
For Obama, this issue hits very close to home and he shared that he and the First Lady finished paying off their loans less than a decade ago. “This is personal for me because Michelle and I, we basically financed our entire college and law school educations with loans and debt and for the first ten years of our marriage,” he said, “we were still paying things off even when we were supposed to be saving for Malia and Sasha. We didn’t finishing paying off all of our student loans until about 8 years ago.”
The President also addressed the Secret Service prostitution scandal emanating from Colombia, which resulted in the dismissal of six people and five more being placed on administrative leave. “Every day, they’re putting their life on the line [and] they do a great job,” said Obama. “So, a couple of knuckleheads shouldn’t detract from what they do. What these guys were thinking, I don’t know. That’s why they aren’t there anymore.”
On a light-hearted note, when Obama “slow jammed” the news with Fallon and the Roots, he ended with a resounding “oooh, yea.”