Flawed from the start: The president's new plan for higher education

Tim Goral's picture

President Obama has been a strong supporter of programs designed to help families pay for a college education, most notably through the Pell Grant and the Opportunity Tax Credit. However, this past week, President Obama announced a new "Plan to Make College More Affordable."

In his speech announcing the plan, the president affirmed that "a higher education is the single most important investment students can make in their own futures." But he went on to say that the cost of a college education is getting out of reach for many Americans: climbing tuition at public colleges is keeping pace with declining state funding of higher education; the student debt load on college graduates continues to increase; the default rate on student loans continues to rise.

The president's plan to deal with this problem seems to have three main parts. First, establish a rating system to determine which colleges offer "best value"; second, have Congress pass legislation tying federal student aid to the "best value" ratings; and third, cap student loan repayment amounts at 10 percent of income annually.

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