Higher Education Bus Tour

Obama Higher Education Bus TourToday is a big day in the world of higher education; during a bus tour through New York and Pennsylvania, President Obama will be revealing a broad plan for rating colleges based, among other factors, on the affordability of the institution. After seeing the cost of a college education far outpace inflation — and costs more than triple over the past three decades, the President’s goal is to link the affordability rating to federal financial aid awards.

The battle to make college affordable is ongoing. Last month, bipartisan legislation passed that links student loan interest rates to the financial markets. While this means that in current market conditions students can obtain lower rates, but once the economy improves those rates will tick upwards to match market conditions. The double-edge sword is that while most want the economy to improve, any improvement that results in higher interest rates will result in students paying the price in the form of a costlier means of financing their education.

On this tour the president is seeking legislation that he wants in effect by the 2015 school year. The legislation will link the new rating system to the way federal financial aid is awarded. For example students who attend higher education institutions that fall out on the higher end of the rating spectrum will receive bigger grants and more affordable student loans.The new rating system, if implemented, will evaluate colleges based on tuition rates, average student loan debt, earnings of graduates and graduation rates.

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