President Obama Outlines Plan to Make College More Affordable

August 22, 2013

Today President Obama gave a speech before an audience at the University of Buffalo in New York, to outline his three part plan to make a college education more affordable. The president also discussed the need to prepare today's college graduates for jobs in competitive markets, particularly those in high tech industries.  

We’ll be monitoring traction on his proposal, especially since the speech did not specify how his plan would affect urban based universities, like FIU, whose circumstances are quite distinct from other universities.

 The three goals of his plan are:

Paying for Performance
  • Tie financial aid to college performance, starting with publishing new college ratings before the 2015 school year.
  • Challenge states to fund public colleges based on performance.
  • Hold students and colleges receiving student aid responsible for making progress toward a degree.
Promoting Innovation and Competition
  • Challenge colleges to offer students a greater range of affordable, high-quality options than they do today.
  • Give consumers clear, transparent information on college performance to help them make the decisions that work best for them.
  • Encourage innovation by stripping away unnecessary regulations.

Ensuring that Student Debt Remains Affordable

  • Help ensure borrowers can afford their federal student loan debt by allowing all borrowers to cap their payments at 10 percent of their monthly income.
  • Reach out to struggling borrowers to ensure that they are aware of the flexible options available to help them to repay their debt.

FIU is currently the nation's 4th largest recipient of Pell grants among public institutions with 17,117 students receiving aid.  In light of added focus on performance and completion, it is important to note that 8,401 (49%) of FIU's Pell recipients earned a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or Higher.   

In all, 55% of all incoming FIU freshmen students are eligible for a Pell grant, making this a prime opportunity for FIU students to afford college. The President's call for innovation in university performance and cost reduction coincides with FIU priorities like our Graduation Success Initiative, which seek to keep students on track to a timely graduation and thus less college debt.

    •  Javier Hernandez, FIU Federal Relations