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.

Comments

Comments

  1. Roger Mitchell says:

    The educated smart college kids should be able to figure it out I’d think .. Its simple last yr he was talking FREE college and FREEEE Gov. money to pay for it and that was last yr he knew he was facing a reelection and was saying/lieing telling the smart kids what they wanted too hear.. But That was last yr and now they are stuck with their informed educated intellectual choice. He got the job again and the chance to finish off the country..

    Now he is a lame duck nothing to worry about he can cut his deal with the communist in Russia with not a fear of what people think or say he can executive order away any annoying constitutional amendments he feels hinder his controlling us .
    So for all of you smart kids with huge loan debt let e tell you what you will get . Its called a shaft.. I’d suggest you all would shut up learn your lessons well go get a job and start paying them loans off and move out of mommas basement . Cause the old free money well is going dry and if any damn consecrative Republican bows and votes to waste more of my money they can kiss my vote bye.. and I think many millions feel the same way..

    One fundamental economic lesson is for free do not spend what you can not afford period if you can not afford to hang out in college then learn a trade that only takes about 4 to 5 yrs and it pays as you learn.. Not a dime was borrowed or loaned too me for my kid to attend College she worked I helped ..And her school was not a cheapo either..

  2. Kevin Athans says:

    Roger,
    You are clearly ignorant in a lot of topics and you are clearly missing the main points…

    To start…Russia is not a communist country. It has not been since the fall of the Soviet Union. You are aware that happened, right? Also, you clearly have not taken a high school level intro to American Government class and have no idea how our government actually works. See, contrary to popular belief, the president is not a dictator. He cannot change things with a snap of his fingers and he cannot simply get rid of Amendments. The real power is in Congress…

    In the first step, the proposed Amendment must be supported by two-thirds in Congress, both House and Senate. The second step requires a three-fourths majority of the states ratifying the amendment. Congress determines whether the state legislatures or special state conventions ratify the amendment. –Wikipedia (or any high school level American Government text book)

    Besides that point I know you are upset about executive orders, but not even those can make a dictator. Executive orders can be overturned by the Supreme Court. They can also be made ineffective when congress does not give the president the money or passes contradicting legislation.

    See, Congress has the real power in this country. The Founding Fathers were not perfect, but they were far from stupid. Separating the powers and setting up checks and balances prevent the very things you fear. The scariest outcome would be if one party controlled the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the Presidency. This would result in one party having complete control of the government.

    With that out of the way, I will address the big issue that you are totally missing. The issue is that COLLEGE IS TOO EXPENSIVE, and college is NECESSARY if you plan on making a livable wage that does not require manual labor. A job is not easy to get without a degree. I was active duty Air Force for 4 years, in a customer service area, and struggled to find a job. I stopped back at Arby’s 3 times and they never got back to me. I finally got a job at Subway, because I knew the manager. After working there for a few months, I finally got into Kwik Trip (an award winning convenience store chain) and I make $10.90 an hour, plus an additional $1.50 for working overnights. A lot of people that work there consider it a career because of the pay…(about $12.50 for a shift lead and $40K a year for an assistant store leader.) That is with no college…kids WITH college still have trouble finding work. My wife worked though college and had a third of her school paid for through scholarships. She received a 4 year degree in nursing from St Catherine’s University, one of the best nursing schools in the country. She had a hard time finding a job…she was offered a job to be a bagger at Cub Foods…she walked out. She took a job at a dieting company making around $12 an hour. She was finally able to get into a nursing home where she worked he way up the latter to nightshift supervisor. Over a year (and one baby) later, she finally got into a hospital. She now makes good money and we have no problem paying her loans, which cost us around $1K a month.

    However I get the impression that I do not need to explain to you how important it is to get a degree because you child went to school…or were you just pissing away money? You say it is simple economics to not spend more than you can afford? The truth is that kids cannot afford NOT to.

    That is our problem. If you were able to put your kid though college without spending much money, congrats you… That is the exception, not the rule. My wife was better off than most. She comes from an upper-middle class family and went to one of the best high schools in the state. She got much of her college paid for and went to one of the best Nursing schools that one could. Her parents also helped her out and co-signed on loans. Most families are not in her position to start.

    Many families cannot co-sign for loans, and many kids do not qualify for scholarships, if they can even get accepted into college at all. That is the problem in this country. We are requiring something that is not plausible to get for most people without going into a lot of debt. It is a circular thing…you need to go to college to make money, but you need money to go to college. $1,000 a month just for school loans is way more than your average person or family can handle. You are a big boy, so I do not need to make a budget to prove this…Granted, there are options…I get my school paid for because of my military service, but college is the next big economic bubble that is going to burst in this country.

    On the OP…

    Kelsey,

    I would not say that he is not concerned, or does not care. I also do not doubt that he has tried. Everyone should take campaign promises with a grain of salt. They are not promises, because the President is not a dictator, rather they are “what I would like to do.” If Congress does not support the president, things will not happen. If the President proposed a bill; that is all we can ask…Congress must do the rest.

    However, even if Congress was to pass all of the legislation, I do not see much of a change in tuition…in fact, I see it going up. The truth of the matter is that Universities and college are businesses. Businesses need to make money, and they will. If high tuition rates causes them to receive less government money, they need a way to make up the money they are no longer getting from the government. This will be done by increasing the price of college. It may or may not be in the form of tuition. It may be in raising food prices or housing. It will more likely come by cutting the pay of the faculty and cutting the staff in general. This drastically decreases the quality of the University and education of the students. Cutting funding to Universities only hurts the employees and the students. Money is king, and this is demonstrated especially when looking at college sports. Penn State allowed a sexual predator to use their school as his hunting ground and covered up allegations, just to ensure the money in the football program, a multi-billion dollar industry. The rich people will get their money…period.

    If you want change, we would need a national revolution. Anything short of that would do very little. If you want to help out students, the area to attack is the banks. Obama and Congress should be forcing lower interest rates of school loans (which I believe Obama has done.) The problem is students cannot afford the costs of the interest. If it were similar to a mortgage, with a 2%-5% interest, it would be far more manageable. We will not get the price of college to go down. The fight is with the banks. This is a simple understanding of Capitalism.

    Even though your link does not show Obama’s education record, it is highly irrelevant. A lot of factors affect grades, and schools are not created equal. I have a 3.1 GPA, which I consider an embarrassment compared to my wife. I, along with most college students/graduates will tell you that grades do not reflect one’s knowledge or ability. The school, professor, and grading style make all of the difference. I have gotten As in classes that I gained nothing from and vaguely remember. I have also gotten Cs in classes that have given me so much, while retaining the information. Much of that has to do with the professor and the grading style, not what I go out of the class. The college also makes a difference. I am sure any smuck can pull straight As at a poorly rated Community College. Columbia University and Harvard Law (Obama went to both) are hardly comparable to most schools out there. He also taught at the University of Chicago (another top notch school,) which is no small feat. To question his education record is utterly stupid or ignorant and no one with a real degree would…unless they are trying to persuade less educated people of their opinion…

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