KU Professors react to Obama’s speech on education costs at the University of Michigan

By Kayla Overbey

Friday, February 3, 2012

Top Story

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KU Professors react to Obama’s speech on education costs at the University of Michigan

University of Kansas professors agreed with President Obama’s plans to increase federal grants and decrease interest on student loans after his speech on college affordability at the University of Michigan on Monday.

The total cost of tuition and fees for KU’s 2011-2012 school year approached $18,000, according to the University Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships. The rise in tuition costs has been a trend throughout the United States, and students everywhere are feeling the repercussions.

Obama stated that higher-education schools would have to either lower tuition costs and increase grant amounts, or lose funding. However, there are no plans for an increase  in grant amounts and scholarships at KU, Amber Teebles, financial aid peer adviser, said.

“The plans are definitely not to decrease. We don’t have anything set in stone,” said Teebles.

Obama outlined plans in his State of the Union speech on Jan. 24 to cut funding to universities that maintain high tuition rates.

“If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down,” Obama said.  He echoed this statement during his speech at the University of Michigan.

Associate Professor of Social Welfare, Deborah Adams, agrees with Obama’s plan.

“Any proposals for new policies and programs that make higher education more affordable are worth the nation’s consideration,” Adams said.

Adams also said controlling tuition costs will put college within easier reach of a wider diversity of students.

“Tuition costs are too high for many children from poor families and families of modest means.  And we can’t forget the additional barriers to higher education for children who are in foster care or otherwise wards of the state,” Adams said.

William Elliot III, assistant professor of social welfare, says he initially agreed with Obama’s opposition to high tuition costs. However, he has doubts if the proposal has enough structure and thought.

“Lower costs sound good and we need to strive for them, that was my first thought. However, I quickly thought how do schools reduce costs? What do they cut or no longer provide? I thought, wow, we really need to provide schools with some guidance about how to do this,” Elliot said.

Adams believes that a lowering of tuition and increase of federal grants will increase well-being for college students and communities throughout the nation.

“The positive outcomes associated with college affordability today are similarly positive for individuals, families, communities, and the nation as a whole.”

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Other News

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  • The act of blogging can be therapeutic to those with unhealthy amounts of stress, The New York Times says. Researchers at the University of Haifa in Israel surveyed high school students to find results.
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