President Barack Obama will visit the University of Colorado on Tuesday as part of a three-stop blitz of college towns, White House sources confirmed to the Denver Post on Thursday.
In his talk, he will push Congress to halt student loan interest rates from going up on 7.4 million people this summer, officials told the Post. The president will also visit Chapel Hill, N.C., and Iowa City, Iowa, the same day.
Interest rates are set to double on July 1 - from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent - for students with a certain type of federal loan, unless Congress intervenes.
Obama will speak to students about the "critical need for Congress to act," White House officials said.
"President Obama believes we must reward hard work and responsibility by keeping interest rates on student loans low so more Americans get a fair shot at an affordable college education," the White House said in a statement.
Officials at CU and the city of Boulder both said they had not received confirmation yet of Obama's visit.
"If the president were to come to Boulder, we would welcome him," said city spokesman Patrick von Keyserling.
Obama's visit will be the second time that a sitting president has come to Boulder, though the city has long been a campaign stop for presidential hopefuls and has also hosted a few presidents who are no longer in office. The only other visit from a sitting president was in 1954 from Dwight D. Eisenhower, who came to town to dedicate the new lab of the National Bureau of Standards, which is now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The two presidents who visited Boulder after their tenures were Ulysses S. Grant in 1880 and Bill Clinton in 2007. Clinton stopped by to stump for his wife's presidential campaign. Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon all visited Boulder before they became presidents, according to Camera history columnist Silvia Pettem.
Dan Gould, chairman of the Boulder County Democratic Party, also had not yet heard Thursday of Obama's plans to visit Boulder. But he said such a visit would be "history in the making" for Boulder.
"That sounds fabulous," he said. "Anything we can do to excite the young people in the country is a good thing. We certainly want to have a repeat of 2008. ... There were a lot of young people who were very excited about the Obama candidacy, and I'm hoping that they will become equally excited again in 2012."
Susan Graf, president and CEO of the Boulder Chamber, said news of Obama's visit is exciting -- but not totally surprising. For one thing, Colorado is an important swing state in the upcoming election, Graf said, but also, Boulder has often been cited by the Obama administration as an example town.
"He is all about jobs and small business and innovation," Graf said. "He uses Boulder as an example frequently."
Graf said that's particularly true when the president talks about tech startups and turning innovation into real businesses. She also said the visits will be good news for Boulder.
"Anytime you get that kind of national and international press around the cool things that are happening in the community -- or that it's worthy of a visit from the president -- it's a good thing," she said. "It just helps the Boulder brand."
The president's visit comes just a couple of months after his campaign named CU one of 10 college campuses that would be part of "The Greater Together Student Summit Tour." Members of the Obama campaign visited CU in late March for the summit, which included panel discussions and question-and-answer sessions.
Obama's visit to Boulder will be just one of several upcoming visits to Colorado. Obama plans to speak next month at the Air Force Academy commencement ceremony. And in October, the first of three presidential debates will be held at the University of Denver.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Laura Snider at 303-473-1327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.