U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama recently devised a plan toalleviate rising college costs that can possibly open doors fordisadvantaged students.
Since 2001, tuition and fees at publictwo-year institutions have increased by 16 percent and four-yearinstitutions have increased their rates by 35 percent. Thesecosts are expected to continue rising over the next 10 years at arate of five percent. Over four million high school graduatesmay be prevented from attending a four-year college. Two ofthe four million probably will not attend at all.
“I have a plan to help more Americans attendand afford college. We should increase investments in PellGrants so that students can get real aid and not be burdened bydebt. With the maximum Pell Grant at $4,050, our students arereceiving, in real terms $700 less than the maximum grant fornearly 30 years ago,” said the Illinois native.
Obama wants to raise the Pell Grant to 5,100to cover the high costs that are currently being paid.
According to Obama, the entire college loansystem needs reform in light of subsidies that are currently beingpaid by the government to private lenders and banks.
“Billions of dollars in unnecessary governmentpayments are being made to the companies who are giving millions ofdollars to our lawmakers in Washington. The spotlight hasrecently been placed on one loophole that gives many banks aguaranteed return of 9.5 percent, a massive subsidy of nearly $1billion annually out of taxpayers pockets-instead of providing areasonable rate of returns such as the 3.37 percent interest ratethat students are paying today on their loans. We need to endthis practice immediately.”
Obama recommends the establishment of a directlending program that will save an estimated $4.5 billion per yearin new and consolidated loans.
The increase in vocational and communitycollege training for Illinoisans is another focus. UnderPresident Bush’s proposed budget for 2005 education, there will becuts amounting to $316 million from community and vocationalinstitutions while there will be a continuance in costincrease.
Barack Obama currently serves as therepresentative of Illinois’ 13th Senate District onChicago’s south side. As a community organizer and civilrights attorney, he strives to strengthen traditional Democraticprinciples by helping to uplift the working class.
Obama’s national campaign is an expansion ofissues he helped alleviate in Illinois. At the DemocraticNational Convention in July, he expresses his views about thecurrent state of our nation as well as his visions forchange. Obama is highlighted for his stance on increasededucation funding, charter schools, making healthcare affordableand accessible, job expansion, and tax cuts for working families,as well as protecting women’s right to choose.
For more information on Barack Obama’scampaign visit www.obamaforillinois.com