President Obama tackles higher education

President Obama is making efforts to make college more affordable.  Recently President Obama spoke about this matter at Hininger High School in Syracuse, New York. 

Obama said, “At a time when higher education has never been more important or more expensive, too many students face a choice they should not have to make; either they say no to college, or they pay the price of going to college and ending up with debt that they’re not sure they will pay off”.   

The President believes students should not have to choose based on this financial burden looming over many students’ heads. The goal of the President’s efforts is for students to receive their education and not be buried in loans to the point where they cannot start their life after college. 

The President focused on three main topics: paying for performance, promoting innovation and competition, and ensuring student loans are affordable in his agenda to make college more affordable to families of middle class.

   The President and Department of Education have developed a new rating system, which is going to help families and students compare values of colleges and push colleges to improve. The rating system will be created through public hearing around the country.  The voices of students, parents, state leaders, and college presidents will decide the value of colleges.  

The criteria that will make up the rating system include access, affordability, and outcomes.  They are pushing students to take responsibility for their degree progression in order to receive more funding. If students are on track with their degree progress they are more likely to receive funding under the new rating system.

  Obama is also promoting the use of technology for the benefit of students. The use of technology is being advocated as a tool to empower students with information. Technology is being used as a student service. Students are able to globally communicate in online study rooms. 

Another form of technology that is going to benefit students is a new program that is called Degree Compass which functions like Netflix or Pandora. 

The system uses previous academic performance data of students in thousands of classes to help navigate students through a course similar to how Netflix or Pandora attracts users from previous experience to guide movie or music choice.  Also, Obama will challenge leaders to creatively come up with a way to improve college in a financially effective manner. 

Obama wants to involve businesses and investors to support innovation and creative ways to improve student learning through technology and other nontraditional ways.  Employers can brainstorm with higher education secondary schools to “offer work-based learning experiences to students, and hire graduates who demonstrate the knowledge and skills employers need”. This idea will simulate what the real working field is like for students who are about to enter.

Obama is also focusing on keeping student loan under control. He is trying to bring down student debt for current and future students.  He is also trying to make a more flexible federal loan repayment plan which helps professions like teachers or nurses whom are very important to our society but receive a modest salary. This plan will allow for a  “sliding scale” that will fit better into monthly payments based on family size and changes in income.

President Obama believes higher education is very important for citizens to achieve.  Ultimately he is making efforts for more young people in the US to have more opportunities to receive a higher education. He is finding ways to increase number of Pell grants for working and middle class families and making reforms to the student loans to make it easier on people regardless of their financial situation.