President Barack Obama Tuesday unveiled steps to accelerate a plan to ease student loan burdens of cash-strapped college graduates squeezed by a tough economy and a grim job market.
The plan, which will be effective next year instead of in 2014, will cap monthly payments of student loans for more than 1.5 million current college students and borrowers at 10 percent of their income.
The plan will also forgive the balance of their debt after 20 years of payments, rather than 25 years under the current law, according to the White House.
"In a global economy, putting a college education within reach for every American has never been more important," Obama said in a statement. "But it's also never been more expensive. That's why today we're taking steps to help nearly 1.6 million Americans lower their monthly student loan payments."
The president will formally introduce the measures in a speech Wednesday in Denver, after wrapping up his tour in U.S. western states for his 2012 reelection bid.
Additionally, under the loan proposal, an estimated 6 million students and recent college graduates will be able to consolidate what they owe into certain government loans with lower monthly payments and interest rates.
In face of fierce Republican opposition, the president is using his wide administrative power to give some relief to the economy, to "put Americans back to work and strengthen the economy because we can't wait for Congressional Republicans to act."
Obama's American Jobs Act was blocked by Republicans in the Congress, and his efforts to take the jobs agenda in pieces to Congress was also unsuccessful.
"Steps like these won't take the place of the bold action we need from the Congress to boost our economy and create jobs, but they will make a difference. And until Congress does act, I will continue to do everything in my power to act on behalf of the American people," he said.
Obama already announced measures to give relief to distressed homeowners on Monday.