President Obama’s first formal State of the Union address last night focused on the nation’s economy, and specifically, helping make college more affordable. “In the 21st century, one of the best antipoverty programs is a world-class education,” he said, calling for a $10,000 tax credit to families for four years of college, as well as an increase in Pell Grants. But even with financial aid, many students have trouble affording the basic fees. According to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, median family income increase by nearly 150 percent during the last 25 years, only to have college tuition and fees skyrocket by 439 percent during the same time period.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education article below, Obama “urged Congress to finish legislation that would restructure federal student lending and proposed a more lenient loan-forgiveness program for graduates with federally subsidized student loans.” He will ask Congress to boost federal spending on education by as much as $4 billion in the coming 2011 budget, Education Secretary Arnie Duncan said earlier in the day. Of that total, $3 billion will go toward elementary and secondary education and $1 billion will be for higher education.
In the U.S., 1 out of every 4 college students drop out or stop out (postpone their education and enroll again later). Closely linked to college drop-out rates are the numbers of high school students who quit school. In a May 2009 report by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Alternative Schools Network in Chicago, Illinois, approximately 600,000 students dropped out in 2008. If they had stayed in school and graduated, they would have generated over $1 billion in state and local taxes in just one year of their working lives. Consequently, addressing our nation’s drop out crisis is one antidote to the high cost of college. Without correcting the patterns of underachievement that often begin in middle school, the U.S. high school drop-out crisis will persist, making college even more unattainable.
What kinds of supportive strategies can we put in place at the middle school and high school levels to help students prepare for college and career success?
How can we boost students’ intrinsic motivation to see themselves as learners who have the ability to achieve academically?
How can we better serve students so that they excel in their areas of strength and interest while also providing opportunities to improve in areas of learning deficiencies?
The Chronicle of Higher Education
January 28, 2010
In a Speech Focused on the Economy, Obama Calls for Cutting College Costs
By Libby Nelson
In his first formal State of the Union address on Wednesday night, President Obama focused on the nation’s economic problems but also zeroed in on several issues of concern to higher education, including college costs.
He urged Congress to finish legislation that would restructure federal student lending and proposed a more lenient loan-forgiveness program for graduates with federally subsidized student loans.
To view this entire article visit www.chronicle.com