The last two weeks have introduced some interesting debates over the rising cost of Higher Education in the United States. The focal points seems to be fired at comments President Obama made while talking about reforming the way loans, grants, and scholarships work at the university level.
What has confused this writer is the fact that so many people, on both sides, are calling this a “new” program. It might be repackaged, dare I say a new form of marketing it to the public, but one doesn’t have to look far into the past to realize that he’s just restating what he proposed when he was first elected.
A recap was provided by the website Education.com. In an article titled, “Obama on College Funding,” author Anna Weinstein talks about what he laid out back in 2008. Here’s an exerpt from that article:
But relief might be in sight. President-elect Barack Obama has made it clear that college affordability is a top priority for his administration. Obama’s College Affordability Plan includes several key elements to support children and their parents in their efforts to afford and succeed in college. Here’s an overview of the plan:
The American Opportunity Tax Credit will be fully refundable and will ensure that the first $4,000 of a college education is completely free for most Americans.
Obama’s plan will simplify the financial aid process by eliminating the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and its complicated calculations; aid will be based on a much simpler, yet equally accurate formula so that students can predict their eligibility well in advance.
Obama will provide $25 million annually in matching funds for states to develop Early Assessment Programs that will enable 11th graders and their families to determine if they are on track to be college ready by the time they graduate.
Obama will increase the Pell Grant to $5,400 over the next few years; he will work to ensure that the maximum Pell Grant award is increased for low-income students.
Community College Partnerships
The Community College Partnership Program will strengthen community colleges by providing grants to analyze high-demand skills and technical education, to implement new associate of arts degree programs, and to reward institutions that increase their numbers of graduates and transfer students to four-year institutions.
Obama will eliminate the more expensive private loan program and will direct that money into aid for students.
Again, does any of this originally stated plan sound much different than what is being proposed now? There might be some slight differences, but the majority of the plans tend to be parallel. I turn this piece over to my readers. Do you think there is much difference? Shouldn’t college students get a better program on funding their education?
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