Yesterday, President Barack Obama sent the message below to the White House email list and his supporters to explain why he’ll be on the road this week talking about his plan to make college more affordable.
Hello, everybody —
Michelle and I know exactly how tough it can be to pay for higher education. By the time we finished paying back the loans we took out to go to college and grad school, I was on my way to being a U.S. Senator.
I believe that anyone who works hard should have the same opportunities that our educations gave us. That’s why, as President, I’ve made it a personal mission to make higher education more affordable — and why I’m going to be visiting school campuses later this week.
The facts are clear. Over the past three decades, the average tuition at a public four-year college has more than tripled. At the same time, many state governments are actually reducing their support for education, and many middle-class students are getting stuck with the tab. Today, the average student taking out loans to pay for education graduates with more than $26,000 in debt.
Just tinkering around the edges won’t be enough: To create a better bargain for the middle class, we have to fundamentally rethink about how higher education is paid for in this country. We’ve got to shake up the current system.
That’s why, starting Thursday, I will be embarking on a bus tour to offer my plan to make college more affordable, tackle rising costs, and improve value for students and their families. My plan includes real reforms that would bring lasting change. They won’t all be popular with everyone –including some who’ve made higher education their business — but it’s past time that more of our colleges work better for the students they exist to serve.
Over the past four and a half years, we’ve worked to put college in reach for more students and their families through tax credits, improving access to financial aid, and new options that make it easier to repay those loans.
But if we’re going to keep the doors of higher education open to everyone who works for it, we need to do more — much more. And that’s exactly what I’m going to be talking about this week.
President Barack Obama