President Obama's New Proposals to Help Students by Increasing Access to Education, Training, and Financial Aid

06/11/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Today President Obama announced a plan to give thousands of unemployed Americans around the country an extra hand by empowering them to go to college, learn new skills and get ahead in their careers. The Obama Administration will work with leaders to make sure that young people don't have to choose between furthering their education and staying afloat financially.

Under the President's program, young people who have lost their jobs will now be eligible to receive federal financial aid -- so they can stay enrolled in school despite losing their incomes -- or have the opportunity to go back to school without losing their unemployment benefits. And the Federal Pell Grant program will soon provide up to $5,350 for educational costs at community colleges, colleges and universities, and many trade and technical schools.

We know that someone who doesn't have a college degree is more than twice as likely to be unemployed as someone who does. The Obama Administration's plans to expand educational opportunities will help people learn the skills they need to not just get through these hard times, but to be more competitive once our economy recovers.

President Obama thinks it's important for students and workers to be able to afford access to higher education, acquire more skills and become more competitive. His program will also make sure that a period of unemployment is no longer just a time to look for a new job, but a time to prepare for a better job. I applaud the President's continued efforts to give students and young people the skills and education they need to succeed in today's economy and build a foundation for strong economic growth.