Obama unveils plan to make college more affordable

U.S. President Barack Obama waves from Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, August 22, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed
U.S. President Barack Obama waves from Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, August 22, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Reed

President Barack Obama on Thursday proposed a new plan to tackle soaring higher education costs with a system that would rate colleges and universities based on their value for the money students spend and tie those ratings to disbursement of federal student aid.

The president, who has spent much of the summer trotting out new ideas to rev up the economy, will unveil his proposals at the start of a campaign-like bus tour through New York and Pennsylvania that will include speeches and a question-and-answer sessions with students.

Tuition costs at U.S. colleges and universities have been skyrocketing, forcing students and families to take on more debt to afford a college degree.

The average cost of in-state tuition and fees for 2013 at four-year public universities was $8,655, up 4.8 percent from 2012, according to a survey from the College Board released this month.

Obama’s plan would institute a ratings system before the 2015 school year that would allow students and parents to select schools based on the best value.

It would push Congress to tie federal student aid to college performance, creating an incentive for schools to keep their costs in check.

The plan would also include provisions allowing those paying off student loan debt to limit their payments to 10 percent of their monthly income.

“The president’s plan will also take down barriers that stand in the way of competition and innovation, particularly in the use of new technology, and shine a light on the most cutting-edge college practices for providing high value at low costs,” the White House said in a statement.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the total cost of higher education – including tuition, room and board – for undergraduates at four-year public institutions ballooned 73 percent to an average of $15,900 in 2011 compared to 2001.

Americans now owe about $1.2 trillion in student loan debt, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates. If the costs put college out of reach for too many young people, the United States could find itself at a disadvantage compared to other countries.

Obama earlier this month signed legislation that reversed a big hike in student loan interest rates and will tie future rates to fluctuations in the 10-year Treasury note. The bill was hammered out in intensive negotiations with lawmakers.

Obama has continued to decry the rising cost of college and has urged both public and private colleges to try to tackle the problem.

Over the last five years, the president has rolled out a number of college affordability initiatives, including increasing Pell Grant aid to low-income students, steps to encourage colleges to be more transparent about costs, and awarding grants to states and institutions that work to bring costs down.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

Movies

Shia LaBeouf disorderly conduct case pushed to September

A judge on Thursday adjourned until September the disorderly conduct and harassment case against actor Shia LaBeouf, who was charged with disturbing a Broadway theater…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.