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Obama in SOTU: Keep college affordable

Hilary Frew / Lantern photographer

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President Barack Obama delivered the 2013 State of the Union Address Tuesday night before a joint session of Congress. Expected to focus on economic and job growth, cutting the deficit and gun control, the president discussed his plan for a stronger middle class and a stronger America – which includes college affordability.
Obama also discussed the importance of preparing students for competitive job markets after graduation. He said it is crucial for higher-education institutions to remain affordable for Americans.
“I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act, so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid,” Obama said.
He introduced a new “College Scorecard” in which parents and students looking at universities can learn more about “where you can get the most bang for your educational buck.”
OSU College Republicans chairman-elect Sam Zuidema, a second-year in history and political science, found issue with Obama’s remarks on the cost of college.
“He mentioned tuition, he mentioned the cost of college, but he didn’t really mention any kind of plan,” Zuidema said. “In fact I kind of thought he glossed over it.”
Obama discussed solutions to reducing the national debt and ways to make the economy thrive but said the answers cannot be found in cutting certain areas of the budget.
“Some in Congress have proposed … making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training, Medicare and Social Security benefits. That idea is even worse,” he said.
He said the nation and the government must not abandon citizens that rely on benefit programs, specifically senior citizens who need retirement security.
The president also referred to the financial burdens that many face across the nation, such as health care and college tuition.
“We won’t grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling,” Obama said. “It is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.”
Other propositions Obama discussed included raising minimum wage to $9 an hour, removing financial deterrents for marriage, and improving the voting experience in America.
Obama said that by the end of next year, the war in Afghanistan would be over, and he plans to bring home 34,000 American troops.
Previous to the airing of the address, several media outlets speculated that gun control would take center stage in the president’s remarks. According to reports, the White House invited about 30 shooting victims or their relatives to the event, including those linked to the Newtown, Conn. shootings.
Obama chose to end the address with remarks on gun control rights. He said that these issues deserve to be re-examined by Congress, because people affected by gun violence “deserve a vote.”
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio delivered the Republican response to the address, while Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul gave the Tea Party response.
The address aired at 9 p.m. and marked the launch of Obama’s plan for his second term. It concluded at about 10:22 p.m.

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