College education, while practically the cultural standard, has become a hot-button issue. Growing debt and lack of jobs make earning online degrees, or residental college degrees, a challenge for many. President Barack Obama has made several legislative changes regarding higher education in order to make college degrees more attainable. The President has been quoted saying, “…we’re working together to put an outstanding education within reach for every child.” To date, President Obama has spearheaded several initiatives to promote higher education. Here are some of President Obama’s more noted effects on education throughout his presidency. You will also get hints of Obama on Education:
Pay As You Earn
In October 2011, the Obama Administration announced a proposal that would cap each college student’s loan payments at 10% of his or her discretionary income. The Pay As You Earn program also sets out to forgive loans after 20 years of payments.
This education plan is focused on all levels of education. More specifically, the Obama-Biden Plan aims to:
- Support college outreach programs like GEAR UP and Upward Bound.
- Support AP and college-level classes by increasing their availability in many high school classrooms.
- Simplify the financial assistance application process by allowing applicants to check a box on their tax form in order to eliminate a separate application.
American Opportunity Tax Credit
This proposed tax credit will give the first $4,000 of college education free to most American applicants. The American Opportunity Tax Credit also aims to cover two-thirds of public college tuition and ALL community college tuition for applicants that complete 100 hours of community service.
Health Care Reform
Under President Obama’s new healthcare proposal, college students can receive healthcare coverage under their parent’s policy up to the age of 26, which is after graduation for many students. Those without parent healthcare coverage often take advantage of low-cost health coverage granted through their college or university. However, with new healthcare reform, that may not be a possibility, as it is unclear whether college-run health plans would meet federal regulation. This could pose a challenge to uninsured college students.
Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act
Signed in March of 2010, the Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act increased Pell Grant scholarships to $36 billion. Pell Grants are funds given by the government that the student does not have to pay back.
Many of President Barack Obama’s decisions and initiatives have been met with criticism, while others have positively affected current and future college students. With an upcoming election, college students across the nation should educate themselves on what will most affect them. Check out where all the candidates stand on these hot button issues:
Financial aid (loans and grants)