Local Student Gives Presidential Introduction - NBC4 Washington

Local Student Gives Presidential Introduction

President Obama announced his plan to overhaul the current college loan system Friday, with the help of a University of Maryland student.

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    Local Student Gives Presidential Introduction
    "I'm honored to introduce to you the President of the United States," University of Maryland student Stephanie Stevenson announced from a podium at the White House Friday. The president announced a plan to increase Pell grants for college students.

     

    President Obama announced his plan to overhaul the current college loan system Friday, with an introduction by a University of Maryland student.

    Stephanie Stevenson was invited to the White House to put a face on the changes the Obama administration says will make college more affordable.

    Touted as the biggest push since the G.I. Bill to get middle class students into college, the president's plan calls for making more Pell Grants available to needy students.

    The bill touches on an issue of great importance to Stevenson; both of her parents are on disability, and scholarships have put her through college.

    The American Studies major is the first member of her family to go to college.

    "Without the scholarship, I would not be here or I'd be extremely in debt," Stevenson told News4. I wouldn't have the means to pay for it."

    In recent years, tuition has grown ten times faster than the average family's income, and many students simply can't afford college. Presdient Obama says providing $200 billion in funding over the next ten years for the need-based scholarships will enable more first-generation college students like Stevenson to get a degree.

    The 20-year-old Stevenson says her visit to the White House for Friday's policy announcement was a moment she will never forget-- but what happened afterwards was even more memorable.

    Stevenson says the president took her aside. "He said you have a surprise," Stevenson said, "and he opened the door and his wife was there. I was calm the whole time, but I cried then. I cried. She held me. That was wonderful."