08/28/2012 11:27 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

52 Reasons to Vote for Obama: #13, Transforming Our Schools and Making College More Affordable

Whether you're PRObama, NObama, or still undecided, 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama gives you all the information you need to share with friends, debate with relatives and decide for yourself as we head toward one of the most important elections of our lifetime. I'll post a new reason in random order every Monday through Friday from now 'til the election.

We will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
-- President Barack Obama, speaking at the University of North Carolina, February 24, 2009

As millions of students around the United States head back to school this week, let's remember what President Obama has done to improve education and make college more affordable.

Students need more financial relief than ever as student debt in the United States passed the $1 trillion mark in early May of 2012. Barack Obama gets it... he and Michelle just paid off their student loans a few years before moving into the White House! As the president remarked in April of this year:

Check this out, all right. I'm the president of the United States. We only finished paying off our student loans off about eight years ago. That wasn't that long ago. And that wasn't easy -- especially because when we had Malia and Sasha, we're supposed to be saving up for their college educations, and we're still paying off our college educations.

2012-08-28-school.jpgHere's how President Obama is making it easier for students to afford college:
  • Pell grants have been doubled, helping eight million college and vocational school students across the country.
  • Loans are delivered directly to the students who need them, rather than through a system that subsidizes banks, channeling more money to students.
  • Income-based repayment options have been expanded for borrowers with high debt.
  • There are increased investments in America's community colleges as well as in historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, and other minority serving institutions.
  • It's easier to apply for college financial aid because of a simpler federal student-aid application.
  • The largest college federal-tax credit has been tripled to provide up to $10,000 in tax credits for four years of college.

To ensure our young people are properly prepared for college, the president is helping to transform elementary and high schools across the country in many ways:

Reforming No Child Left Behind:
  • States gain greater flexibility to focus more on learning and less on just testing.
  • Creative solutions are fostered, ones tailored to the local community.
Encouraging reform through competition: Race to the Top:
  • States now vie for federal funding by putting forward their best plans for education reform.
  • Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have won grants for boosting college and career readiness, developing data systems to track students, recruiting and rewarding good teachers and principals, and turning around struggling schools.
  • Thirty states have changed their policies to become more competitive.
  • It rewards entrepreneurialism and innovation in education.

Advocating for merit pay to reward the best, most effective teachers.

Focusing on 5,000 of the truly failing schools and firing unqualified teachers and principals.

Expanding successful charter schools.

Better schools + More college grads = A smarter, happier, more productive nation!

I encourage you to join in the conversation and share your thoughts on Reason #13 or your own reasons by visiting 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama on Facebook... I'd love to hear from you!

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