Obama: College ‘surest ticket’ to middle class
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President Obama on Saturday urged Americans to sign his new “Student Aid Bill of Rights” and collectively work towards reducing the cost of higher education.
 
“In an economy increasingly built on innovation, the most important skill you can sell is your knowledge,” Obama said in his weekly address Saturday. “That’s why higher education is, more than ever, the surest ticket to the middle class.”
 
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“But just when it’s never been more important, it’s also never been more expensive,” he added. “The average undergrad who borrows to pay for college ends up graduating with about $28,000 in student loan debt.”
 
The president touted several of his initiatives aimed at lowering that price tag. He cited expanding tax credits, giving more Pell Grants, reforming student loan programs and pushing for free community college as examples of progress. Despite these, Obama said, such measures were not enough.
 
“But all of us — elected officials, universities, business leaders — everybody needs to do more to bring down college costs,” he said. “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.’ ”
 
Obama said the document lists four principles. It starts by saying every student deserves access to a “quality, affordable education.” 
 
From there, it states students who take out loans should have access to “resources to pay for college” and an “affordable repayment plan.” 
 
Finally, it said borrowers deserve “quality customer service,” “reliable information” and “fair treatment” during the repayment process.
 
The president asked Americans to sign his new declaration and then share it with as many friends, family members and students as possible.
 
“In America, a higher education cannot be a privilege reserved for only the few,” Obama said. “It has to be available to everybody who’s willing to work for it.”
 
The “Student Aid Bill of Rights” is available at WhiteHouse.gov/CollegeOpportunity.