Obama Addresses Affordable Education in Last Speech

Fabienne Fleurantin/Contributing Writer

Being a student at FIU can be tough at times. With the rigorous strain it takes to find the perfect parking space, to having an enormous break between classes, the added bonus of the cost of tuition can prove to be a heavy burden weighing down on students everywhere.

Logging into my PantherSoft account can be somewhat painful at the beginning of each semester when I’m scrolling down to the Finances section to find a large sum that has yet to be paid.

President Obama’s last State of the Union address Tuesday evening touched on many subjects, ranging from healthcare, to immigration, and even the military. Yet, when he spoke about the issues of education in America and what changes he had planned for the remainder of his term, he captured my full attention.

Obama stated that “…we have to make college affordable for every American. Because no hard working student should be stuck in the red.” He continued to say: “Now we’ve actually got to cut the cost of college. Providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that, and I’m going to keep fighting to get that started this year.” As he uttered these vigorous words, I couldn’t help but think of how relevant this was to every student going to a college or university.

I receive financial aid from FIU to help pay for my education; but that alone is not enough for me to cover my classes, books, or transportation. I have to take out loans in order to pay the bill in full, which wasn’t an easy choice for me to make. Trying to pay off loans is a headache I wanted to avoid because I knew it came with repercussions. Nonetheless, I was left with no other choice but to accept what was offered to me, or I wouldn’t be able to go to college at all.

I worry about falling into debt, which could conflict with other choices that I may make later on in life, like owning a home. Students are only given a six month gap after they graduate before having to pay back what you owe. But what if I don’t find a job in time to start this process, and end up a melancholy college graduate sitting at home with a useless degree?

I admire the President’s tireless effort to make education affordable; however, these words are always fought by opposing action. In the hopes of anything getting accomplished, members of Congress need to start working together as a collective entity that marches forward toward progress. These cannot simply be words fabricated to motivate. They must lay the groundwork to initiate change.

It will take an effort on both sides of the political spectrum to enact this change, and to construct America into that ideal of what we aspire to be.

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