Monday, February 1, 2010

President Obama’s State of The Union Address: What Does It Mean for College Students?

By Ifeanyi Onwumah

“Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job.” These words were said by President Obama in his State of The Union Address in regards to revamping college education as a means to improve our economy and the job situation.
Usually when Barack Obama gives speeches, I tune out because I never believed that anything he had to say affected me directly. I am still in school and live with my parents so I don’t have to worry about a job and both my parents have good and secure jobs so I wasn’t worried about them either. I now realize how naïve that view is and I have a better grasp of how the country’s situation affects me.

I know that if I want to make it through college and have the kind of job stability and security my parents have, I need to know that I can afford tuition for all four years of my undergraduate degree without my parent going bankrupt. I need to know that when I graduate the economy still isn’t in such a slump that I’ll go for months on end without a job and continue to mooch off my parents even after they’ve spent so much to give me the tools I need to be on my own.

This is why I tuned in on Wednesday, January 27. I wanted to know what the President’s plans are in the near future to restore financial stability and to help me out with my college education. The President said that rather than keep bailing out banks, he would rather give families $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants.

He also said “let's tell another one million students that, when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years, and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college.” There is no guarantee that the President will follow through on these promises but it’s a nice sentiment knowing that he has my future in mind!

Ifeanyi Onwumah is a sophomore philosophy major from South Holland. He participates in several campus clubs. Consideration for the student bloggers is provided by Saint Xavier University.

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