President Obama speaks with Trailblazer journalists
Trailblazer reporters and editors participate in conference call with Barack Obama
By George Bowling
President Barack Obama participates in a conference call with college and university student-journalists in the Oval Office, Sept. 27, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama joined the VU Trailblazer in a live conference call Monday afternoon. During the call hundreds of college newspapers joined the President in a question-and-answer session to get his take on student financial problems and what to expect in the future. .
In the past ten years, the United States went from first to twelfth in the number of college graduates. This was a major concern for the President, who said that the first step to getting great again is to have more college graduates. President Obama declared that he aims for us to be number one again by 2020. He also wants to change the way federal student loans are administered by redirecting money so it goes directly to students. This will make college more affordable, because it will not have to go through the banks. Another way to get more students enrolled is to make sure Pell grants will keep up with inflation. He wants to make sure that no one is paying no more than 10% of income per month paying back student loans.
Another thing the Administration is concerned with is whether or not college educational programs prepare students for the workforce. They also want more students to complete college. More than half of minority students don't earn a degree. It's up to students to finish, but the Administration is trying to remove barriers. The key is to open the door for more people, so they succeed in life. Another plan announced is the "Dream Act," which will stop punishing young people because their parents were illegal, by letting them go to school or serve in the armed forces.
President Obama does not believe in the idea that Generation Y is the "Lost Generation." They will be just fine. We've just gotten through the worst financial crises since the Great Depression. With degrees in math and science, and good communication skills, they will be fine. The Greatest Generation went through worse, with unemployment at 30%. Starting in 2014, people will cap their student debt at 10% of their salary.