NASFAA President Justin Draeger sent a summary to the NASFAA Board last night of President Obama's higher education/financial aid comments in his State of the Union address. The summary below (bullet points) is from Justin. This does not contain any opinions or policy points, but is a compilation of some of President Obama's comments in case you missed his speech.
· Schools that don’t keep costs down will face punitive measures: So let me put colleges and universities on notice: If you can't stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down. Higher education can't be a luxury - it's an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.
· Student Loan Interest Rate Hike: When kids do graduate, the most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.
· Tuition Tax Credit: Extend the tuition we started that saves middle-class families thousands of dollars.
· Double Work-Study Jobs: Give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.
· College/Business Partnerships: Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, Orlando, and Louisville are up and running. Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers - places that teach people skills that local businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.
· Simplifying Labor Retraining Programs: And I want to cut through the maze of confusing training programs, so that from now on, people like Jackie have one program, one website, and one place to go for all the information and help they need. It's time to turn our unemployment system into a reemployment system that puts people to work.
· Dream Act: Let's also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: The fact that they aren't yet American citizens. Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation. Others came more recently, to study business and science and engineering, but as soon as they get their degree, we send them home to invent new products and create new jobs somewhere else. That doesn't make sense. The opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now. But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let's at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, and defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away.