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Change in Higher Education

Change in Higher Education

Check out President Obama's plans for change in higher education.

By Kathryn Knight

November 10, 2008

Obviously, the economy is President elect Barack Obama’s main focus as he takes the reigns from Bush in January. However, let’s not forget that Obama has many other initiatives he hopes to tackle during his presidency. If you haven’t heard by now, Obama wants to make college more affordable for all Americans and his plans to do so will soon affect you. So…what are his proposals for change in the collegiate sector?

American Opportunity Tax Grant
Under Obama’s American Opportunity Tax Grant, all Americans will receive $4,000, fully refundable, for their college education. This amount actually covers 2/3 of a first year at a public university and one whole year in community college costs. But you don’t just get $4K for going to college; there is a 100 hours community service requirement.

Simplify the FAFSA
Insert huge sigh of relief. Obama proposes to replace the complicated FAFSA from with a check box on all tax forms that authorizes the use of tax information for financial aid purposes.

Early Assessment Program Funds
Some states have developed Early Assessment Programs for juniors in college. Basically, these programs assess the individual junior and determine whether he/she is prepared for college. If not, the program provides resources to get that student up to speed. Obama hopes to encourage EAP and will provide $25 million in matching funds for states that develop the programs.

Increase in Pell Grants
During his term as president, Obama hopes to maximize the Pell Grant to the amount of $5,400.

Community College Partnership Program

Three-fold plan:

  • Conduct more analysis on types of skills and technical education that are in high demand from students and local industries.
  • Create new associate of arts degree programs.
  • Reward institutions that graduate more students and also increase number of transfers to four-year institutions

Student Loans
Obama hopes to eliminate the Federal Family Education Loan Program, which has a focus in private student loans and is more expensive.


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