By JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press
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.