In unveiling his ambitious higher education plan last week, President Obama once again framed his desire to make college more affordable as a personal mission, reminding the audience at the State University of New York at Buffalo of his own experience with a hefty load of student loan debt.
Obama took out $42,753 in loans to pay his tuition at Harvard Law School, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. First Lady Michelle Obama went $40,762 in debt to finance her Harvard Law education. It was not until after Obama signed a $1.9 million book deal in 2004 -- the year he was elected to the U.S. Senate -- that the couple paid off all of their student loans, according to the Sun-Times. The Obamas’ law school debt came on top of their existing undergraduate loans (he from Occidental College and Columbia University and she from Princeton University) and pushed their combined outstanding balance at graduation above $120,000, Obama has previously said.
Both the president and first lady also attended law school for three years -- an amount of time that Obama last week urged law schools to consider shortening to two years to reduce the cost for students.