President Obama tells Capital students he is committed to college funding
As if on cue, a wet, cloudy morning in Bexley gave way to bright sunshine minutes before President Barack Obama took the microphone at Capital University Tuesday.
Obama took advantage of the campaign stop to tell a partisan crowd, comprising mostly Capital University students, how he and Republican challenger Mitt Romney differ when it comes to funding college education.
“I came here to Columbus today to talk about what most of you students are doing every day,” Obama said. “Your education is the single-most important investment you can make in your future. Your education has never been more important. A degree that you earn from this university is the surest path to a good job and to higher earnings.”
Obama said students now need to attend a community college, technical school or university to compete in today’s employment market. He also said he understands how the cost of education has increased.
“Over the past two decades, tuition and fees have more than doubled,” he said. “The average student who borrows to graduate now pays about $26,000 worth of student loan debt.”
He said he knows firsthand about the difficulties of student loan debt.
“I’m not speculating about this because we (he and wife Michelle) have been in your shoes,” he said. “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 poorer together. We combined our liabilities into one big liability. We paid more on our student loans than we paid for our mortgage each month. And that went on for years … We did not finish paying off our student loans until about eight years ago.”
Obama told the crowd “that education worked out pretty good.”
“Making higher education more affordable is something that I have a personal stake in,” he said. “It’s something Michelle has a personal stake in. We have been there and we believe in it because unless you provide those rungs on the ladder of opportunity, young people who are more talented than we are may not get a shot.”
Obama said his commitment to higher education isn’t matched by Romney.
“Putting a college education within reach for working families just doesn’t seem to be a big priority of my opponent,” he said. “Two months ago, Gov. Romney said if you want to be successful, if you want to go to college and start a business, you can just, and I’m quoting here, borrow money if you have to, from your parents.
“When a high school student in Youngstown asked him what he would do to make college more affordable for families like his, Gov. Romney didn’t say anything about grants or loan programs that are critical to millions of students to get a college education. He didn’t say anything about grant programs, or community colleges or how important higher education is to America’s future. He said the best thing you can do is shop around.”