Pres announces changes to relieve student loan pressure

DENVER (NBC) - Pres. Barack Obama ordered changes in federal student loan programs that could benefit more than a million and a half Americans.

Under the executive order announced Oct. 26, maximum loan payments drop from 15 to 10 percent of discretionary income, remaining debt is forgiven in 20 instead of the current 25 years and loans can be consolidated. Changes will take affect starting in January.

"It will save you money," Obama said. "It will help more young people figure out how to afford college. It will put more money in your pockets when you graduate."

Student loan debt is one of the things that has influenced the "Occupy" protests across the country.

Republicans, however, objected to the plan saying in a statement that "The president's order will mean more debt for students and more red ink for government."

Copyright 2011 NBC. All rights reserved.