Speaking to an audience at the University of Buffalo on Aug. 22 President Barack Obama unveiled new proposals to lower the cost of a college education. His plan is to implement a new rating system to evaluate and rate colleges that achieve outlined goals.
The new rating system will be based on factors such as graduation rates, access of poor students and manageability of debts. The president’s proposal of a system to rate colleges is to help students understand which ones have the best value.
“What we want to do is rate them on who is offering the best value so students and taxpayers get a bigger bang for their buck,” Obama said.
Obama unveiled this new rating plan in his two-day tour through New York and Pennsylvania.
He started promoting his plan that is focused on counterattacking the always increasing cost of higher education.
The president urged for more competition among colleges, to increase motivation and innovation that would lead to excellence and efficiency.
The idea is those colleges and universities that keep their tuition down and at the same time are providing high-quality education are the ones that are going to get more funding.
“Right now most states fund colleges based on how many students they enroll, not based on how well those students do or even if they graduate,” Obama said.
The new system proposed promises that the student’s debts will be more manageable.
The cost of college education has increased 250 percent in the last 30 years. The family income has increased only 16 percent in the same period of time. The national student debt is about $26,000. In Utah that debt is about $17,000.
Obama himself said he finished paying his own school debts late in his 40s, right before he was elected US senator.
“We are going to make sure that if you have to take on debt to earn your college degree that you have ways to manage and afford it,” Obama said.
Additionally, he wants to increase the enrollment in the program ‘Pay as You Earn.’
This is a student loan repayment program. It requires a repayment of 10 percent of a student’s post college income.
Obama thinks that this new rating system would bring stability and success in the American economy and more importantly in the low income families.
“We are living through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better, most families were working harder and harder just to get by,” Obama said.
Obama believes that higher education can be a major path toward middle class for every citizen.
“We’ve got to create more pathways into the middle class for people who are willing to work for them,” Obama said. “A higher education is the single best investment you can make in your future.”
Obama instructed the Department of Education to rank colleges with their peers, according to new ways to evaluate and measure their success and affordability.
Some of those new measures would be: access, affordability and outcomes. Obama wants this new rating system implemented by 2015. If everything goes well, the government will allocate more financial aid, according to the results of the new rating system, by 2018.
However, Obama acknowledged that in order to implement this new rating system it will require the approval of the Congress.
He plans to heavily promote his proposals throughout the country to make those changes happen.
It is clear that President Obama wants radical changes in the cost of college education. He thinks that our future generations need a better chance to get educated.
“We’ve got to shake up the current system,” Obama said. “A national strategy to make sure that everybody who works hard has a chance to succeed in this twenty first century economy,” Obama said.