The Missouri campus was selected because it houses a high-school-to-college-to-work program with a focus on technology and engineering that Obama heralded as a model for the future. Education was one of five economic tentpoles — along with manufacturing, home ownership, retirement, and health care — that the president detailed in a sprawling economic address earlier Wednesday at Knox College in Illinois.

The president said that he would act without congressional support, noting his program to extend high speed Internet access to 99 percent of grade schools.

"Every child at every desk should have access to the entire world's information," Obama said.

He also said that he would use the power of my office to highlight a topic that effects probably everybody here… the soaring cost of higher education."

"Families and taxpayers can't just keep paying more and more into an undisciplined system," Obama said.

Obama added that refocusing on the economic growth would have benefits throughout society.

"A lot of the social tensions are reduced because everybody's feeling pretty good," Obama said.

But despite his educational focus, Obama's address was largely a rehash of the 64-minute address he gave earlier in the day. He'll travel again to Jacksonville, Fla. on Thursday, to discuss manufacturing and infrastructure at the ports there; the speeches are part of a tour of at least six economic addresses planned for this summer.