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In SOTU, Obama fails to adequately address higher education concerns

Young adults listening to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night were probably pretty disappointed by what they heard — or didn’t hear.

With national student loan debt at $1 trillion and counting, the number one issue for youth is student loan debt, as polling from the liberal organization Campus Progress revealed. Student debt even ranks higher than employment and the economy.

But after using their votes to gain reelection, Obama doesn’t seem too concerned about young people, what they care about or keeping his promises to them.

In last year’s SOTU, education played a large role in the President’s address, with the hashtag #education being the most-tweeted core theme of the entire speech, according to White House data.

The President expressed his commitment to keeping college education affordable, warning colleges and universities of the consequences of not working toward that end.

“So let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down,” he said. “Higher education can’t be a luxury — it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.”

In 2012, Obama talked about creating Race to the Top to incentivize extra funding for colleges and universities and increasing Perkins loans, The Huffington Post reported. Yet neither of those initiatives were funded by Congress, and Obama has seemingly given up on them altogether. They weren’t mentioned on this year’s SOTU. Talk about a failed promise.

In this year’s State of the Union, the POTUS only briefly touched on the topic of higher education specifically.

“Tonight, I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act, so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid,” he said. “And tomorrow, my administration will release a new “College Scorecard” that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”

This isn’t the first college financial planning system Obama has proposed. In 2011, he launched “Know Before You Owe,” a worksheet that would provide students with a way to compare the real cost of a degree at different institutions.

But all this ‘planning’ doesn’t actually lower the cost of college. If college is something “every family in America should be able to afford” then these systems don’t actually address the real problem.

Obama’s rhetoric sounds nice, but young people shouldn’t get their hopes up. Just look at the President’s education record.


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