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April 04, 2012 at 13:50 PM EDT
Investing in the Potential of the Next Generation
Vice President Joe Biden holds an event on College affordability with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at Maury High School in Norfolk, Virginia, April 3, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann) Yesterday, the Vice President had a powerful message for the graduating seniors, parents, and teachers at Maury High School in Norfolk, Virginia – one that students across the country should hear and one that drives this Administration’s commitment to higher education. He told the Maury students: You are the most qualified generation in history.  And we have an obligation.  We have an obligation to equip you or at least give you the opportunity to go out and plumb that potential. For months now, Vice President Biden has been traveling around the country talking about the importance of college and the need to make it more affordable . But the graduating seniors and parents the Vice President spoke to and heard from yesterday know all too well that college isn’t as accessible as it used to be. And when college isn’t accessible, the potential of the next generation is at risk. As a result of rising tuitions and the tough economy, more and more families are facing difficult choices about how or even if they can finance a college education for their children. As the Vice President said yesterday, that’s why this Administration has consistently focused on making college more affordable and accessible for low-income and middle-class families. Since President Obama and Vice President Biden took office, this Administration has supported college affordability and access through multiple measures: We increased the maximum Pell award from $4,731 in 2008 to $5,550 today. Nearly 10 million students go to college with the help of a Pell grant each year. We made our education spending go further by ending subsidies for banks that act as middlemen for federal student loans. We created a tax credit that provides up to $2,500 per year – that’s $10,000 over four years – to help students and their families pay for tuition, fees and books. An estimated 9.4 million families are expected to claim this tax credit for 2011. We reformed the way students pay back their federal loans, so students will be able to cap their monthly payments at 10 percent of their discretionary income. This will help make sure that graduates aren’t forced to choose between paying for food or rent or their college loans.  read more
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