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President's speech at UNLV to focus on student loan crisis

Reported by: Gerard Ramalho
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Updated: 6/06/2012 3:10 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Las Vegas is gearing up for another presidential visit Thursday as President Obama will speak at UNLV. He's expected to discuss student loans and the rising cost of education.

Nevada is expected to play a critical role in the upcoming election, so even though isn't a campaign trip per se, it will also serve that purpose.

Regardless, people today jumped at the opportunity to grab free tickets to hear him speak. The line stretched around Cox Pavilion as Las Vegas residents hoped to get a ticket to the president's speech.

This will be Obama's 10th visit to Las Vegas since his election, this time appearing to discuss a subject he's been tackling for weeks.

"For the first eight years of our marriage we were paying more in student loans than we were paying for our mortgage,” Obama said recently, “So we know what this is about."

Some have referred to the nation's student loan dilemma as a crisis and if congress doesn't act soon, in July interest rates on loans will double.

"It's the concern for most American students, most of them are walking out of college with 70-thousand, 100-thousand dollar debts," said UNLV student Rachel Hershkovitz.

Though the president's visit is billed as an official trip, Nevada is also a key swing state in the upcoming November election.

The president will likely make even more trips to the valley before then, as will his Republican opponent Mitt Romney.

Last week, Romney visited Las Vegas, attending a fundraiser hosted for him by Donald Trump.

Politics watchers believe these visits are obviously strategic and politically motivated. But students at UNLV say having the country's top leaders in Las Vegas is a good thing.

"Having both candidates come here and raise awareness about these issues is beneficial, not just for our state, but for the entire country," said UNLV student Bebe Zeva.

Thursday's presidential event is free to the public, but tickets are required and expected to go fast. They will be available again at the Cox Pavilion from noon until 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The last time the President visited the valley was in March when he toured the solar plant outside Boulder City.
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