President Barack Obama brought his highly anticipated message about paying for higher education to the Salt City. The president said the cost of college and student loan debt shouldn't deter students. Our Iris St. Meran details the goals he's outlining to make pursuing a college degree more affordable.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- In a crowd of community members, educators and students President Barack Obama couldn't stress enough that a college education can unlock many doors, saying it's the single best investment you can make in your future.
President Obama said, "The unemployment rate for Americans with at least a college degree is about a third lower than the national average."
But a growing number of students and families are not seeing a high return on their investment. The President said it's becoming more difficult for them to pay for school and many people are making a choice to not attend because of the cost.
"Over the past three decades, the average tuition at a four year public college has risen by more than 250 percent. The typical family income has gone up 16 percent," Obama said.
He shared his personal experience with the crowd saying he and the first lady did receive scholarships, but they also had a lot of debt after graduate school and weren't able to pay it off until he became a U.S. Senator, when he was in his 40s.
To make college affordable, President Obama has outlined three goals. The first is to develop a rating system for colleges based on things like career potential and graduation rates. The second is encouraging innovation. Online education is one example. Lastly, making debt manageable by capping student loan payments at 10 percent of a borrower's income.
The president says it will be hard work to pass these goals through Congress, but he says it will be well worth it because they will help more students graduate and get rid of debt.
The president also highlighted the Syracuse City School district for its Say Yes to Education program, saying he hopes more cities follow this model.