Ted Strickland, Kathleen Clyde stump for Obama at KSU

Senior applied conflict management major Evan Gildenblatt speaks with former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland after his speech to Kent State students in support of the Obama 2012 campaign. Photo by Matt Unger.

Senior applied conflict management major Evan Gildenblatt speaks with former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland after his speech to Kent State students in support of the Obama 2012 campaign. Photo by Matt Unger.

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Contact Jasen Sokol at [email protected].

Cost of college at forefront of campaign stop

Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland called Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s economic plans “extreme” and “harmful” to Kent State students.

Strickland joined State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) and the Kent State College Democrats in support of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign during an appearance in the Music and Speech Center Monday.

The campaign bus stop focused on economic issues that affect middle class families and college students, such as Pell grants, Stafford loans and health care.

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“There would be significant reductions in aid to students,” Strickland said. “(Romney and Ryan) want to turn back to the same failed economic policies that have led us to where we are in terms of this recession.”

Strickland said as states are dramatically cutting aid to students and universities, Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan are planning deep spending cuts for important federal government funds that help cover the cost of higher education.

“This budget is absolutely extreme, and so far outside the mainstream of what we Ohioans consider to be common sense that it is alarming,” Strickland said.

Kent State student leaders, whom Strickland referred to as the “authorities” on college cost control, held yellow-and-black signs that read “Romney-Ryan Economics: It doesn’t work then. It won’t work now.”

Bryan Staul, president of the KSU College Democrats, said he has personally struggled with the cost of the college, which led him to support Obama, who he calls the greatest ally the middle class has had in the White House in a generation.

The son of a steelworker and a nurse, Staul said he has Stafford loans, the interest rates for which would double for nearly 387,000 Ohio students under Romney’s plan. Additionally, he warned, more than 356,000 students would see their Pell scholarships cut by an average of $830.

“They’re jeopardizing the entire future of the country,” Staul said.

Under Obama, Staul said, four million people are now helped by Pell grants. They now pay back federal loans at no more than 10% of their monthly income. They also can stay on their parents’ insurance policy until age 26 with Obama’s health care plan, he said, a popular policy with college students.

“The president has had a very pro-student agenda,” Staul said. “He understands what we go through, and he has a strong track record of helping students. “

Evan Gildenblatt, executive director of Undergraduate Student Government, said Ryan, a graduate of Miami (OH), has forgotten what it was like to deal with rising tuition costs.

“Ryan’s radical budget would be deep, deep spending cuts across the board, cuts that would absolutely devastate Ohio students,” Gildenblatt said. “Today, I’m asking, how can Ohio’s young people get the jobs of the future if we can’t get the education of today?”

Contact news editor Daniel Moore at [email protected].