Obama student loan plan to end Saturday

Associated Press
President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 28, 2012, before boarding the Marine One helicopter. Obama was traveling to Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., to visit with members of the military. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Borrowers hoping to consolidate their student loans through a special government program have until Saturday to apply.

President Barack Obama announced the plan in October. Borrowers can save up to half a percentage point on their interest rate through the program. The Education Department says about 440,000 borrowers have applied, with loans totaling $10.6 billion.

Borrowers who miss the deadline can still apply for a regular consolidation, but they won't get the interest rate deduction. The White House says 2 in 3 college graduates borrow to pay for college, and the average borrower graduates with about $26,300 in debt.

Young voters and recent graduates are crucial to Obama's re-election. Exit polls say voters age 18-24 overwhelmingly supported Obama in 2008.