State of the Union lacked in talks about tuition

Riley Youngman

President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union Address Tuesday night. The address covered a variety of topics in depth, but one was noticeably glossed over: college affordability.

I’ll admit I’m a fan of our Commander-in-Chief. I’ll also admit I am a registered Democrat, which sometimes draws a few looks, but like all the cool kids these days, I identify more as an independent.

Despite political affiliation, like many of you I am first and foremost a college student in the U.S. that is paying for school with loans taken from the federal government. Whether or not you share in my admiration of the president, you and I most likely share the fact that we are growing more and more indebted each term.

With tuition and debt increasing, I was hoping the president would speak on how this is going to be resolved—instead I was disappointed with his remarks, or lack thereof.

It’s one issue to not provide answers to the problem, but another to barely even acknowledge it.

According to transcripts from CNN, only a paragraph was dedicated to the subject of college affordability. Of the hour-long speech, only 10 seconds were given to the topic, a brief remark and off to the next point.

“And we have to make college affordable for every American, because no hardworking student should be stuck in the red,” Obama said during the address. “We’ve already reduced student loan payments to 10 percent of a borrower’s income.

“Now we’ve actually got to cut the cost of college. Providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that, and I’m going to keep fighting to get that started this year.”

That’s it.

While I acknowledge that national security, environmental concerns, healthcare, guns and foreign policy are equally important in their own rights, I would have loved to hear more on college affordability and how the current standard will be reformed.

President Obama seemed to acknowledge the hardships many Americans face, and provided details on plans of action he will take before leaving office, but failed to inform on how tuition rates would become more affordable.

This is why Bernie Sanders is so wildly popular among millennials. At the root of it all, regardless of your opinion of the man, Sanders has already won over the support of average college-aged individuals because he has taken the time to talk about them, and more specifically, about making college more affordable—the politics of which are an entirely different conversation.

According to an article published on CNBC Jan. 13, the student debt in this country has reached $1.3 trillion dollars—that’s trillion. Not even Dr. Evil from “Austin Powers” can fathom that amount of money.

Obama ended his speech with the phrase, “I believe in you. That’s why I stand here confident that the State of the Union is strong.”

I believe in myself as well, Mr. President, but belief alone does not pay for college. There is no point in which believing your student loans will be paid off equates to them magically doing so. The cost to receive higher education in this country is ridiculous, and this needs to change.

The opinions expressed in Youngman’s column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Barometer staff.

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