Dear MoveOn member,
In 2008, young people voted in record numbers and went for President Obama over John McCain by more than 2-to-1.1 This year, every election expert agrees that if that happens again, Obama will win easily—and the Democrats will probably win back the Congress.
And now Republicans have handed us a golden opportunity to fire up young people to vote in 2012.
You see, because of Republican obstruction in Congress, interest rates on college loans are set to double this July—pouring even more debt on a generation already drowning in student loans. President Obama is pushing Congress to stop it, but as usual Republicans have dug in their heels.2
To make sure young people know what's happening, we're launching one of the largest online ad campaigns in MoveOn history—putting ads on the Facebook page of every college student in America to warn them about this Armageddon of student debt.
We've already tested several versions of these ads, and we know they're effective at getting students to take action. But we'll have to scrap the plan unless we can raise $200,000 from MoveOn members. Can you chip in $5?
MoveOn has already heard from hundreds of thousands of young people freaking out about this—and we're already working to make sure they call Congress, register to vote, and keep taking action on campus.
But really, we need to reach the millions of young people who aren't hearing about this, and hands down the best way to reach them is on Facebook.
Facebook ads are awesome because unlike TV, radio, or newspaper ads, people can click on them and sign up to take action. And of course, Facebook is where young voters spend so much of their time.
Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of Republican strategists like the idea of another wave of young voter turnout like in 2008, and this Republican war on students gives us a chance to make it happen, if we can act fast.
Student debt has become an absolutely explosive issue among young people. Since 1999, student loan debt has increased by more than 500%. You may not realize it if you don't have kids or if you went to college 10 or 20 years ago, but it now costs on average more than $21,000 a year to go to a public school with in-state tuition. The best private schools are almost triple that much.3
In fact, we've seen two of the largest petitions in MoveOn history in recent months calling on Congress to provide relief for those drowning in student debt. This is a sleeping giant of an issue, and in the coming weeks it can really blow up.
The Republicans' doubling of interest rates is just the latest attack on students. For years they've been slashing funding for higher education, leading directly to skyrocketing tuition at public colleges and universities. Just last year, they cut $8 billion out of the Pell Grant program for low-income students and reduced the income threshold for eligibility for a full Pell Grant.4
This is the ultimate teachable moment for young voters, showing them who's on their side and why it's so important to vote. With your help, we can make this one of the key turning points of the 2012 election.
Thanks for all you do.
–Steven, Joan, Wes, Marika, and the rest of the team
1. "Young Voters in the 2008 Election," Pew Research Center for People & the Press, November 12, 2008
2. "Obama To Make Student Loans a Campaign Issue," Slate, April 20, 2012
3. "Chart of the Day: Student Loans Have Grown 511% Since 1999," The Atlantic, August 18, 2011
"College costs climb, yet again," CNN Money, October 29, 2011
4. "Student loan rate hike: What you need to know," CNN Money, April 24, 2012
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