Good news for college students: President Obama plans to implement a new college affordability plan, which includes expanding student financial aid, providing assistance to colleges that strive to keep tuition down, and cutting costs from those that do the opposite. This plan is part of a pitch to middle class families, a group that will play a crucial part in the upcoming Presidential election.
On Friday January 27, The President spoke in Michigan, expected to be a big swing state this year. Under the plan, Perkins loans are to be augmented by 1-8 billion dollars. There was also talk of a $1 billion dollar competition pushing states to control their public tuition rates.
Speaking at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the President stated “We want a country where everyone has a chance.” He also pointed out the student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt here in the United States, adding that Washington is “putting colleges on notice. [Colleges] can’t just assume [they will] jack up tuition every year.”
Another incentive is in the works as well: a $55 million dollar competition to encourage more educational productivity, new strategies, and ultimately more positive student outcomes. The President would also like to build a college “scoreboard,” an easy to read and understand tool to provide people with information about college tuition costs, graduation rates, etc.
Additionally, the administration announced plans to urge Congress to keep interest rates low for those using student loans, as well as doubling the amount of available work-study positions over the next five years.
Thankfully, college affordability has been something President Obama has been fighting for, and continues to do so. In 2010 legislation was passed that completely reconstructed the federal student loan program, and also allocated $61 billion towards post-secondary education, says the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Also, the 2009 stimulus plan included at $2500 dollar tax credit for higher education, which Obama has proposed to make permanent.
It is wonderful to see the interests of students being addressed by President Obama not only during election season, but throughout his term. The need for affordable, attainable education (a cornerstone of America’s success) is something that needs to be constantly acknowledged by our leader. The President is demonstrating intolerance for colleges and universities skyrocketing tuition year by year, acting as an advocate for anyone who wishes to get a college education without being in debt for the rest of their lives. Without education that is cost efficient, there would be a steep decline in college enrollment. It is wonderful that we have a President who stands up for accessible education, and subsequently, a stronger nation as a whole.