Every American must have access to higher education

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

President Barack Obama told about four thousand college students crowded into the University of Michigan's Al Glick Field House on Friday that they should not be overly burdoned with debt while earning a colllege diploma.

''This is going to be one of the most important issues that not just you face, but this entire country faces,'' he said, stressing the importance of a college education in pursuit of the American dream. ''We want a country where everybody has a chance.''

He said he's laid out a blueprint to get there.

''Blueprint,'' he said. ''Blue. That's no accident, Michigan.''

The enthusiastic crowd roared.

Obama noted that while Congress needs to double the number of work-study jobs in the next five years and increase student aid, colleges and universities need to keep costs down.

U-M's average annual tuition increase for resident students over the last five years is 5 percent, compared to the national average of 5.6 percent. The cost for a Michigan resident freshman starting in 2011 was $12,634, compared to $37,782 for non-residents. What a student actually pays depends on financial aid. About 70 percent of Michigan undergrads receive aid.

The state of Michigan cut funding to higher education by 15 percent this year.

Many statewide and local dignitaries attended the speech.

''Four more years!'' someone shouted.

''OK,'' he said with a smile.

Published: Mon, Jan 30, 2012

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