President Obama Calls on Colleges and Universities to Lower Costs

Obama also wants Congress to increase funding for grants and work-study programs.

Posted: 01/27/2012 03:22 PM EST
President Barack Obama, Unemployment, higher education, President Obama, education

Speaking before a roaring crowd of 3,000 students at the University of Michigan Friday morning, President Obama called on colleges and universities to work to curtail the rising cost of tuition or risk losing federal funding. The visit was part of a five-city, three-day post-State of the Union trip to promote the themes of the address he delivered Tuesday night.

“We’re putting colleges on notice,” Obama said. "You can't assume that you'll just jack up tuition every single year. If you can't stop tuition from going up, then the funding you get from taxpayers each year will go down."

Obama, who pointed out that he and First Lady Michelle Obama have been able to achieve so much because they got a great education, said that the nation’s economic future depends on ensuring that every American can afford a world-class education. In addition, he noted that in the coming decade, 60 percent of all new jobs will require workers to have some sort of post-secondary education.

“Higher education is not a luxury. It’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford,” the president said.

He is proposing shifting federal aid from colleges and universities that don’t keep costs low to higher education institutions that do. In addition, he will ask Congress to increase federal aid to colleges and universities for Perkins loans and work-study programs, which will likely be tricky, especially in an election year in which Republicans are hoping that the president will be ousted from office.

Obama also said that he’d like to see report cards for colleges that would provide families with information about each institution’s affordability, student success, graduation rates and other factors.

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