President Obama, facing crises during his vacation from Iraq to Ferguson, Mo., pivoted to a new topic, education, in the weekly address on Saturday.
As the school year approaches, Obama stressed the importance of students preparing themselves for college.
The address also delved into the education policy changes the administration has pushed.
“As long as college costs keep rising, we can’t just keep throwing money at the problem – colleges have to do their part to bring down costs as well,” Obama said. “That’s why we proposed a plan to tie federal financial aid to a college’s performance, and create a new college scorecard so that students and parents can see which schools provide the biggest bang for your buck.”
The plan has raised worries among some colleges about an expanding federal government role in college education.
The president also touted the work that has already been done in an effort to control college costs. In 2010, Obama signed a law allowing students to borrow directly from the federal government, cutting out banks that had previously been subsidized to give loans.
Obama said in the address that means “more money goes to students instead of big banks.”
He cited a letter he received from a woman named Elizabeth Cooper, who he said wrote to describe the challenge for middle class people to afford college.
She wrote that she feels “not significant enough to be addressed, not poor enough for people to worry [about], and not rich enough to be cared about,” the president said.
“Michelle and I know the feeling,” Obama added. “We only finished paying off our student loans ten years ago.”