Obama speaks to college students about collage affordability:
Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event -- Columbus, OH
Capital University1:00 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Ohio! (Applause.) Hello, Crusaders! (Applause.) Oh, it is good to be back in Columbus! (Applause.) The sun came out for us. (Applause.) It's a good sign.
It is fun to be back in Ohio, and it is great to be here. I just want to acknowledge a few people. First of all, give Steven a big round of applause. (Applause.) He was explaining to me what it's like being a BMX driver -- rider. And he said that -- he said, well -- I asked him, because I'd seen those guys in the Olympics, and I said, it seems like you guys fall a lot. (Laughter.) And he says, "No, no, I learned how to fall on my shoulder." I said, well, is that good? He said, "Well, I broke my shoulder four times." (Laughter.) But he looks okay to me. He's doing great.
Well, I am glad we've got some students here because I came to Columbus today to talk about what most of the students here are doing every day. Your education is the single most important investment that you can make in your future. And I'm proud of all the students who are here doing what it takes to make that investment -- the long hours in the library -- except for this guy. (Laughter.) Working in the lab, being in the classroom -- even when your classes start a little earlier than you had planned -- because your education has never been more important.
The degree that you earn from this university is the surest path that you will have to a good job and to higher earnings. It’s the best tool you’ll have to achieve what is the core promise of this country -- the idea that if you work hard, your work will be rewarded. The basic bargain that says if you’re willing to put in the effort, you can do well enough to raise a family and have a home that you call your own, have some security, put a little away for retirement, and most importantly, make sure that your children, your grandchildren can do even better and dream even bigger than you did. (Applause.) That’s the hope that your parents had for you. That’s the hope I have for Malia and Sasha. That’s the hope that you’ll someday have for your own kids.
But here’s the thing. This is about more than just your own success. Now, more than ever, your success is America’s success, because when we invest in your future we’re investing in America’s future. The fact is that countries that out-educate us today, they’ll be able to out-compete us tomorrow. Businesses are mobile in the 21st century economy; they can locate anywhere. So they’re going to create jobs and they’re going to hire wherever they find the best educated, most highly skilled workers. And I don’t want them to have to look any further than right here in Columbus, right here in Ohio, right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
And because the economy has changed, over the coming decade more than half of new jobs will require some form of higher education. It may not be a four-year college degree, but you’re going to need to have gone to a community college or a technical school to get the skills you need to get hired -- and this is not breaking news to any of you. What’s also not breaking news is the fact that higher education has gotten a lot harder to afford; it’s gotten more expensive. Over the past two years -- excuse me, over the past two decades, tuition and fees at America’s colleges have more than doubled.
The average student who borrows to pay for college now graduates with about $26,000 worth of student loan debt. (Laughter.) What, that sounds low to you? (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: I just said the average. (Laughter.) For a lot of young people it’s a lot higher, and that kind of debt means pretty tough choices when you’re first starting out. It might mean putting off starting a family or buying a home, or putting off chasing that great idea that you’ve got for a small business. When a big chunk of each paycheck goes towards paying off your loan debt, that’s not just tough for middle-class families that are trying to make it and young people who are trying to get started; it’s also painful for the entire economy because that means that money you might be spending on buying a new home or doing something else with it, it’s going to that check that you’re writing every single month. It’s not going to the local business.
And I have to say, this is something Michelle and I know firsthand about. I’m not speculating on this, because we’ve been in your shoes. Neither of us came from wealthy families. Both of us graduated from college and law school with a mountain of debt. When we married, we got poor together. (Laughter.) We combined our liabilities into one big liability. (Laughter.) We paid more for our student loans than we paid on our mortgage each month, and that went on for years. And then, once we had Malia and Sasha, we needed to start saving for their college educations but we were still paying off our college educations.
Now, keep in mind we were lucky enough to land good jobs, we had steady incomes, but we did not finish paying off our student loans until about eight years ago. Think about that. I’m not --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You got an education.
THE PRESIDENT: I got an education and it worked out pretty good. (Laughter and applause.) But the point I’m making is, I’m only standing before you because of the chance that my education gave me. So I can tell you, with some experience, that making higher education more affordable for our young people -- it’s something I’ve got a personal stake in; it’s something that Michelle has a personal stake in. We believe in it because we’ve been there and we know that unless you provide those rungs on the ladder of opportunity, young people who are more talented than we are may not get a shot. That’s why I’ve made it a top priority of my presidency. And, Ohio, that is something that is at stake in this election. That’s part of the reason why November is so important. (Applause.)
And I say this because putting a college education within reach for working families just doesn’t seem to be a big priority for my opponent. A few months ago, just up the road, in Westerville, Governor Romney said, if you want to be successful, if you want to go to college or start a business, you can just -- and I’m quoting here -- “borrow money if you have to from your parents.”
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: When a high school student in Youngstown asked him what he would do to make college more affordable for families like his, Governor Romney didn’t say anything about grants or loan programs that are critical to millions of students to get a college education. He said nothing about work-study programs or rising college tuition. He didn’t say a word about community colleges or how important higher education is to America’s future. He said, the best thing you can do is shop around.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: The best thing I can do for you is to tell you to shop around.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: That’s it!
THE PRESIDENT: That’s it. That’s his plan. That’s his answer to young people who are trying to figure out how to go to college and make sure that they don’t have a mountain of debt -- shop around and borrow more money from your parents.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: What are we going to do? (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Now, I’ve just got to -- I want to make sure everybody understands. Not everybody has parents who have the money to lend. (Applause.) That may be news to some folks, but it’s the truth. (Laughter.)
So what Governor Romney is offering is not an answer. There’s nothing a parent wants more than to give opportunities to their kids that they never had. And it’s pretty painful for a lot of parents if they can’t do that. But as we’re fighting back from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, you’ve got a lot of parents who are out there struggling just to make ends meet. And I don’t accept the notion that we should deny any child the opportunity to get a higher education. If they’ve been working hard, if they’ve got the grades, if they’ve got the determination to get a better future for themselves, I don’t want them to be prevented just because their families were hit hard by a recession. (Applause.)
That’s not who we are. That’s not what America is about. We give everybody a fair shot. Think about all the discoveries, all the businesses, all the breakthroughs that we would not have made if we told every young person who has got the drive and the will and the grades to go to college, “tough luck, too bad, you’re on your own.” We’ve always made a commitment to put a good education within the reach of everybody who is willing to work for it. That’s part of what makes us special. That’s what keeps us at the forefront of business and science and technology and medicine.
And this dates back for decades. Some of you know my grandfather fought in World War II. When he came back, he had a chance to go to college because this country decided every returning veteran of World War II should be able to afford it. (Applause.) My mother was able to raise me and my sister because she was able to get grants and work her way through school. Michelle and I would not be here today without the help of scholarships and student loans. And I know Steve wouldn’t be here either and neither would a lot of you. (Applause.)
So in a 21st century economy, a college education should be available for everybody -- not just the wealthy few. Whether it’s a four-year college, a two-year program, higher education is not a luxury, it is an economic necessity that every family in America should be able to afford. And that’s what’s at stake in this election. It’s one of the reasons I’m running for President of the United States for a second term. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!
Meanwhile, the GOP is fussing, fuming and fretting about abortion:
The Republican platform plank on abortion contains no exceptions, not even for rape victims or to save the life of the mother.
Of course, once all these unwanted babies reach college age, they will be left on their own to try to get an education. And left on their own to try to obtain health care.
That's the Tea Party way... that's the GOP way... that's the One-percenters' way.
Is it your way?