President Obama is taking on the high cost of college. In a speech at the University of Buffalo on Thursday, the president called on state lawmakers to provide education subsidies, universities to stop raising fees, and Congress to make loan repayment more reasonable. President Obama said, “We have got a crisis in terms of college affordability and student debt. The soaring cost of higher education has become a barrier and a burden on too many middle-class families.”
In addition to addressing college affordability, the President also proposed a new official ranking system, which he said will help students understand the value they're getting with their education dollars. He said, “We need to rate colleges on best value so students and taxpayers get a bigger bank for their buck.” White House officials say that ranking colleges on a variety of metrics will “challenge the education industry and encourage more competition on cost.” According to the Center for American Progress, similar ranking systems have shown positive results in the states in which they've been used.
Many student debt advocates welcomed the President's speech, and his proposals to make college more affordable. However, some groups remain skeptical about whether the plan goes far enough to address the $1 Trillion dollars in outstanding college debt. It's great news that there's a plan to reign in the skyrocketing cost of education for future students, but we can't forget about those who are already drowning in college debt. In the words of Occupy protestors – Wall Street got bailed out, students got sold out. Maybe now our leaders will finally start working to change that.
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