Obama Stresses Importance Of College Affordability

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President Obama told students in Michigan that their universities should stop raising tuition so much faster than the rate of inflation.


President Obama has also been campaigning this week, repeating themes from his State of the Union address. His itinerary included five different states. In Iowa and the mountain West, he talked about support for manufacturing and domestic energy production. His final stop, the University of Michigan. There, he stressed the importance of keeping college education affordable. NPR's Scott Horsley was there.


SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: There was a pep rally atmosphere inside the Michigan field house. By 9:00 a.m., several thousand students assembled to hear the president, many still dressed in parkas and scarves after waiting hours outside in the cold.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I want to thank all of you for coming out this morning. I know for folks in college, this is still really early.

HORSLEY: Mr. Obama says he knows not only about the hours students keep, but also the burden of student loans. His administration has taken steps to boost student aid and he's urging Congress to do more. But he warned that federal taxpayers can't make up for the rising tuition costs that have outstripped inflation for the last two decades.

OBAMA: Colleges and universities need to do their part to keep costs down, as well.

HORSLEY: Aspiring doctor, Andy Rosco(ph) says he was on the fence about Mr. Obama in the last election, but he liked what he heard today.

ANDY ROSCO: There's not too many opportunities in life to get to be in the same room as the president and hear him talk about education, which is obviously, you know, close to home. A group of us, we're all med students here, so we have a lot of student loans and it's definitely something that's important to us.

HORSLEY: Michigan, like all the states Mr. Obama visited this week, is expected to be hotly contested in the November election. Scott Horsley, NPR News, Detroit.

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