WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, President Obama laid out his vision for quality, affordable higher education for all Americans. Today, a college degree is the surest ticket to the middle class and beyond, but it has also never been more expensive. Everyone, from elected officials to universities to business leaders, has a part to play in making college affordable for all students. The President has already made historic investments in college education affordability, and earlier this week, he announced a Student Aid Bill of Rights – a set of guiding principles behind his vision for affordable education. In his address the President urged everyone to visit WhiteHouse.gov/CollegeOpportunity and sign this declaration, because together we can ensure students who work hard for a college degree do not graduate saddled with debt.
The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.171english.cn at 6:00 a.m. ET, March 14, 2015.
Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House March 7, 2015
Hi, everybody. Earlier this week, I visited with students at Georgia Tech to talk about the importance of higher education in the new economy, and how we can make it more affordable.
In an economy increasingly built on innovation, the most important skill you can sell is your knowledge. That’s why higher education is, more than ever, the surest ticket to the middle class.
But just when it’s never been more important, it’s also never been more expensive. The average undergrad who borrows to pay for college ends up graduating with about $28,000 in student loan debt.
That’s why my Administration has worked hard to make college more affordable. We expanded tax credits and Pell Grants, enacted the largest reform to student loan programs in history, and fought to keep interest rates on student loans low. We’ve acted to let millions of graduates cap loan payments at 10 percent of their income, so they don’t have to choose between paying the rent and paying back their debt. I’ve sent Congress my plan to bring the cost of community college down to zero – because two years of higher education should be as free and universal as high school is today.
But all of us – elected officials, universities, business leaders – everybody – needs to do more to bring down college costs. Which is why this week, I unveiled another way that we can help more Americans afford college. It doesn’t involve any new spending or bureaucracy. It’s a simple declaration of values – what I call a Student Aid Bill of Rights. It says that every student deserves access to a quality, affordable education. Every student should be able to access the resources to pay for college. Every borrower has the right to an affordable repayment plan. And every borrower has the right to quality customer service, reliable information, and fair treatment, even if they struggle to repay their loans.
That’s it. Just a few simple principles. But if we all rally around these principles, there’s a lot that colleges, lenders, and the people you sent to Washington and to your state legislatures can do to realize them across the country.
So if you believe in a Student Aid Bill of Rights that will help more Americans pay for a quality education, I’m asking you to visit WhiteHouse.gov/CollegeOpportunity. Sign your name to this declaration. Tell your families, and your friends, and fellow students. I’m going to ask Members of Congress, and lenders, and as many business leaders as I can find. Because making sure that students aren’t saddled with debt before they even get started in life is in all our interests.
In America, a higher education cannot be a privilege reserved for only the few. It has to be available to everybody who’s willing to work for it.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.
Address: We Should Make Sure the Future Is Written by Us
WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the
President underscored the importance of continuing to grow our economy and
support good-paying jobs for our workers by opening up new markets for
American goods and services. While America’s businesses, ranchers, and
farmers are already exporting goods at record levels, there’s more room for
growth with 95 percent of the world’s customers living outside our borders.
In order to pursue new trade agreements, the President called on Congress to
pass trade promotion authority so that the U.S. – not China – can play a
leading role in negotiating 21st century trade deals that protect our
workers, support good wages, and help grow the middle class.
everybody. At a moment when our
businesses are creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s, we’ve still
got to do everything we can to help workers and businesses succeed in the new
economy – one that’s competitive, connected, and changing every day.
One thing we
know for certain about businesses in the 21st century is that they’ll need to
sell more goods and services Made in America to the rest of the world.
businesses already sell goods and services in other countries at record
levels. Our farmers, our factory
workers, and our small businesses are exporting more than ever before – and
exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages.
businesses are using the internet to grow their business by reaching new
customers they couldn’t reach before, too.
As an example, nine in ten American small businesses that use eBay as
a platform to sell their products are exporters – with customers in more than
30 different countries on average.
But there’s a
lot of room for growth. After all, 95%
of the world’s potential customers live outside our borders. Many of them live in the Asia-Pacific – the
world’s fastest-growing region. And as
we speak, China is trying to write the rules for trade in the 21st century.
That would put
our workers and our businesses at a massive disadvantage. We can’t let that happen. We should write those rules.
Congress should act on something called “trade promotion authority.” This is
bipartisan legislation that would protect American workers, and promote
American businesses, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that
aren’t just free, but are fair. It
would level the playing field for American workers. It would hold all countries to the same
high labor and environmental standards to which we hold ourselves.
Now, I’m the
first to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the
hype. And that’s why we’ve
successfully gone after countries that break the rules at our workers’
expense. But that doesn’t mean we
should close ourselves off from new opportunities, and sit on the sidelines
while other countries write our future for us. We should seize those opportunities. We should make sure the future is written
by us. And if we do, we won’t just
keep creating good new jobs for decades to come – we’ll make sure that this
century is another all-American century.