The President's New Plan to Make College Affordable

The President's New Plan to Make College Affordable

College is expensive. Maybe even too expensive, depending on the school and the student.

Even the President agrees.

On Thursday, President Obama announced a proposal for new measures to make a college education more affordable for Americans. On a bus tour of schools in upstate New York and Pennsylvania, he outlined a plan that would make federal aid more heavily influenced by individual college costs.

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During a stop at the University at Buffalo, the President explained that the goals of his plan would encourage schools to compete for students in innovative ways and help students manage the costs of their educations. He also outlined the proposal's specific ins and outs, as follows:

  • To devise a new ratings system that would rank colleges on frugality, and those that ranked highest would receive the most federal aid.
  • To ensure that student aid would be paid over the course of each semester, instead of one installment at the start.
  • To create a system whereby colleges would receive bonus payments for each graduate who has a Pell Grant (a need-based grant for undergraduates from the federal government).
  • To ensure that student loan payments would be limited to 10% of income.
  • To encourage colleges to develop "high quality offerings" that make them more competitive with other schools.

While supporters of the plan praise the President for addressing the cost of college, others aren't as eager to get on board. Some critics, for example worry that the basis for the college rankings is "arbitrary" and that it could stifle rather than encourage innovation.

RELATED: 4 Ways to Fix the Broken Student Loan System

But there's one point on which it seems everyone agrees: Something has to be done about the cost of college. Right now, it isn't uncommon for graduates to hold more than $100,000 in student loans, and the financial commitment is affecting everything from building savings to buying a house.

President Obama's proposal is still just that: a proposal, subject to Congressional approval. But if it were to be implemented, could it be the fix we need?

Image courtesy of Flickr.

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