Obama continues college cost pitch in weekly address
August 24th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
1 year ago

Obama continues college cost pitch in weekly address

(CNN) - After a two-day bus tour through New York and Pennsylvania to sell his plan on controlling college costs to students and parents, President Barack Obama used his weekly address Saturday to continue the push for his three-pronged plan to reduce the financial burden on students.

Student loan debt has skyrocketed in recent years, as have delinquencies, making it a pressing issue for millions of Americans. In 2011, students owed an average of nearly $27,000 in loans, making it second only to mortgages in consumer debt.

Lawmakers fiercely debated student loans before Congress adjourned for its August recess, and eventually struck a deal that maintains low interest rates on loans, though in the future those rates could rise.

In a CNN interview Friday, Obama called that compromise a "stop-gap measure" that still left unsolved the problem of the even-increasing price tag of a college degree.

Read below for Obama's full weekly address:

Hi, everybody. Over the past month, I've been visiting towns across America, talking about what our country needs to do to secure a better bargain for the middle class.

This week, I met with high school and college students in New York and Pennsylvania to discuss the surest path to the middle class – some form of higher education.

But at a moment when a higher education has never been more important, it's also never been more expensive. That's why, over the past four years, we've helped make college more affordable for millions of students and families with grants and loans that go farther from before.

But students and families and taxpayers cannot just keep subsidizing college costs that keep going up and up. Not when the average student now graduates more than $26,000 in debt.

We cannot price the middle class out of a college education. That's why I proposed major new reforms to make college more affordable and make it easier for folks to pay for their education.

First, we're going to start rating colleges based on opportunity – are they helping students from all kinds of backgrounds succeed, and on outcomes – their value to students and parents. In time, we'll use those ratings to make sure that the colleges that keep their tuition down are the ones that will see their taxpayer funding go up.

Second, we're going to jumpstart competition between colleges over innovations that help more students graduate in less time, at less cost, while maintaining quality. A number of schools are already testing new approaches, like putting more courses online or basing course credit on competence, not just hours spent in the classroom.

And third, we're going to help more students responsibly manage their debt, by making more of them eligible for a loan repayment program called Pay-As-You-Earn, which caps your loan payments at 10 percent of what you make. And we'll reach out directly to students to make sure they know that this program exists.

These reforms won't be popular with everybody. But the path we're on now is unsustainable for our students and our economy.

Higher education shouldn't be a luxury, or a roll of the dice; it's an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Minne Mouse

    The prices of the entire country on everything has skyrocketed over the past few years!

    Either everyone should all be getting Pell grants or everyone should all be taking out students loans, regardless to what your income is. In the current situation the system is not working for everyone.

    All colleges should be treated equally the same, by means of not having any rewards type program. You assist one college with funds, then assist them all. This creates a balance between all the colleges to where no college is better than any other college. This will give all students the same equal education regardless to what college someone enrolls into, no matter what state it is in because the funds will be available for the same education.

    August 24, 2013 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  2. Gurgy

    These colleges are greedy–hiring Foreign cheap work force. Tighten migration.

    August 24, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  3. Ron L

    While it is good the President is addressing the problem of tuition going up 3 to 5 times the inflation rate for no sound reason. I am extremely disappointed he did not address another major issue. America needs to quit acting like EVERYONE needs to go to college!! Everyone needs to continue their education but America needs to reinvigorate it's APPRENTICESHIP programs. Most of you who are reading this have no idea the training necessary to manufacture sheet metal or plastic products. The people who go to college will be able to design these items but you need the skills trades to produce the idea that they created. Currently there is a huge shortage of skills trade craftsmen and it will take 3 to 5 years for the country to catch up. If we want the nation to continue manufacturing for the rest of the world we need to give this sector (skills trade apprenticeships) more attention.

    August 24, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  4. Hector Slagg

    Fiscal Responsibility for college students is one thing. Fiscal Responsibility in bloated Federal spending is another thing. Time to follow your own advice Mr. President!

    August 24, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  5. PEPPY

    Jobs pivot ????

    August 24, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. Must be what's in the Tea

    I completely support the President and the premise by which he makes this push. The burden of college loans has far reaching implications to this country's economy. I work with new graduates and after paying their loans, they have little left for anything else. This means no opportunities to go out to the movies, or bowling, or restuarants...there your real impact to this country's economy...I don't know why the GOP/Tea party thinks they should oppose the common sense approach of reducing costs to recent grads.

    August 24, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. wendel

    time for the republican clowns to come back from vacation and screw up the country again. President knows what he is talking about.

    August 24, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. jpmichigan

    When one cannot govern or lead this great nation, one goes out and does the only thing he can do , lecture and campaign. while the possibility of chemical warfare is engaged in Syria and the known terrorist group , the Muslim Brotherhood march and kill Christians in Egypt, our so called Campaigner-in-chief talks about children attending college, when they can't even graduate high school.

    August 24, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. ED1

    wendel

    time for the republican clowns to come back from vacation and screw up the country again. President knows what he is talking about.

    Time you wake up the Senate is controlled by Democrats they are the people holding everything up. The house sends the Senate a budget what does Reid say DOA dead on arrival that's your hold up .

    The Republicans won re-election to stop the out of control spending the Democrats are famous for.

    Spend what they don't have and the rules don't apply to them.

    August 24, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. Missy

    @ED1 – actually the out of control spending occurred under Bush. In fact under Obama, the country's annual deficit have been reduced.

    It is funny how Republicans seems to think Democrats are out of control spending when in fact they turned a blind eye when Bush was doing this.

    It has cost our country trillions of dollars on two wars and tax cuts for the rich which they to extend.

    August 24, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. Malory Archer

    If law school was only two years, I'd seriously consider it.

    August 24, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. Tampa Tim

    It is hard to pay for unfunded republican wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, unfunded republican drug programs and the revenue destroying tax cuts for wealthy Americans. Those republican plans did not stop the day we elected Obama, and we are still paying for republican stupidity.

    August 24, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Borderless

    "Hey guys! Remember me? Barry, the cool president? Remember how much you loved me before all those embarrassing little hiccups? I'm going to pretend to be interested in you again, and not in a creepy NSA way. Please love me! I'm Barry! The cool president. I go on Reddit."

    August 24, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. Just a thought

    @jpmich....

    When one cannot govern or lead this great nation, one goes out and does the only thing he can do , lecture and campaign. while the possibility of chemical warfare is engaged in Syria and the known terrorist group , the Muslim Brotherhood march and kill Christians in Egypt, our so called Campaigner-in-chief talks about children attending college, when they can't even graduate high school.
    ------–
    Yeah...I'll take Pres. Obama's leadership over his "Mission Accomplished, I don't know where Bin Laden is, Economy Destroying predecessor any day. Fortunately for this country, the majority of americans have brains and decided to go against your genius last November. Thank goodness....Couldn't imagine this country being led by your confused misguided idea of reverse pragmatism - i.e. we like being brain dead. Please continue your faux news talking points

    August 24, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. Nothing At All

    Republicans would oppose Obama if he proposed cutting taxes on the rich.

    August 24, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. ED1

    No Republicans wouldn't oppose Obama if he proposed tax cuts to the rich they oppose him because he is just a sorry President.

    If you would stop drinking the Kool Aid you might just see that too.

    I voted for him once but not the second time it didn't take long to see he is about Obama and nothing else.

    August 24, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    "I voted for him once but not the second time it didn't take long to see he is about Obama and nothing else."

    Oh get out of here, Ed1. You NEVER voted for President Obama. Why sell that particular nonsense this late in the game? Not that it matters, but do get out of election mode. Romney lost and Obama is on his last term.

    August 24, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Gurgy

    @borderless, you are also brainless just like your GOP American Taliban

    August 24, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  19. don in albuquerque

    Uhh....Peppy, nice try at a cute little statement with a total fail.. The GOTP ran on a Jobs platform as I recall, and they could not get anyone a job washing windows at McDonalds. The President can ask Congress to act, but in reality he can do nothing because he does not control the purse strings. Congress does. The House has failed to act on anything. In particular, Mr. Boehner. But have no fear, even though the Right continues to invent facts, lie, cheat, and steal you will always have one thing to fall back on, clench both fists, shake them at the sky and scream Benghazzzi!!!!! There, now, feel better. Try to stay on subject.

    August 24, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. Len

    ED1:

    I could list 10 items that President Obama has accomplished for all Americans. (Ending an unjust war in Iraq for one)....but I am sure you drink the Kool Aid that is given to you by Fox News and others. Do research and you will find he has done a tremendous job considering the GOP decided from Day one that they would oppose anything or everything he proposes. Wake up

    August 24, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  21. rs

    ED1
    No Republicans wouldn't oppose Obama if he proposed tax cuts to the rich they oppose him because he is just a sorry President.

    If you would stop drinking the Kool Aid you might just see that too.

    I voted for him once but not the second time it didn't take long to see he is about Obama and nothing else.
    ______________
    I hate to point out Obama did cut taxes- for many more Americans and at a higher rate than Bush did. Republicans opposed him and that. He wasn't lavishing their corporate overlords with the benefits Republicans felt they deserved I guess.

    Republicans need to figure something out: There are way, way more voters in this nation earning less than $50k per year than there are earning $400k. They need to entice those voters- not just the 1%. To do that they need to stop bashing workers' rights, unions, and everything (like the ACA) that helps working Americans. Sure, they thing the rich are the "job-makers" but 20 years of lavish tax cuts proved that one wrong.
    The GOP- the wrong party for the vast majority of Americans.

    August 24, 2013 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  22. Donkey Party

    From the comments you see on the Ticker, it's abundantly clear why the right-wing is comprised of low-info, low-intellect voters.

    August 24, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  23. Getoverit

    Nice distraction from the real issues at hand.... not!

    August 25, 2013 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  24. necronn99

    Hey obama where is that speech with you saying how you could have been just like that jogger who got shot by 3 blacks and gunned down without a chance because they are bored. I bet not one word from your sorry ..........BEEP

    August 25, 2013 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  25. Thomas

    New York's attorney general sued Donald Trump for $40 million Saturday, saying the real estate mogul helped run a phony "Trump University" that promised to make students rich.

    Trump needs to make amends

    August 25, 2013 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
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