President Barack Obama is repeating his call to change the way the U.S. government helps students pay for college. The president says reforming the system will help make American students and workers more competitive in the world economy.
With a college student and her mother at his side, President Obama said the U.S. student loan system needs to be fixed, to help more low- and middle-income students afford college.
"In a paradox of American life, at the very moment it has never been more important to have a quality higher education, the cost of that kind of education has never been higher," he said.
Mr. Obama wants the government to stop paying private lenders to make student loans, and stop guaranteeing those loans with taxpayers' money. "Yet, we have a student loan system where we are giving lenders billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies that could be used to make college more affordable for all Americans," he said.
The president wants to end a government program that makes most college loans this way, and shift entirely to loans where tax dollars go directly to help students pay for tuition.
Mr. Obama says this and other reforms would save tens of billions of dollars over the next ten years, help more Americans afford college, and make the U.S. work force better educated and more competitive. "This would help ensure that every American, everywhere in this country, can out-compete any worker, anywhere in the world," he said.
The president says he wants the U.S. to have the highest percentage of college graduates in the world, by the end of the next decade.