Obama’s State of the Union Address

So as I was watching Obama’s first State of the Union Address (SOTU) as president earlier, education was high on my list of things to note. As a college student right now who is planning on pursuing higher education (via law school), it is probably one of the two most important issues (healthcare being the other one) that I am concerned with… and I’ve mentioned that on this blog time and time again (like here and  here for example).

Even with grants and whatnot, I am still going to be in TREMENDOUS debt… and that’s just from the past four years worth of education. For the past four years, tuition has increased EVERY year and it has definitely added up. I don’t even want to think about what I’ll owe after law school.

One of the reasons I’ve been contemplating on whether I should go to law school right after undergraduate or work for a few years first is because of this debt! This is especially because of the state of the economy nowadays… it’s not like before where if I had a pretty decent education, I would most likely find a decent job (barring any unforeseen circumstances).

Nowadays, I know so many people who have been laid off in the last year or so that it is ridiculous. To think of the competition of people from an older generation looking for jobs and the young people vying for the same jobs is pretty scary. All I know is I’m not too comfortable with the idea of being in such a huge debt and being uncertain of a plan to pay it back.

Quoting a part of what Obama said tonight about the education aspect:

‘To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer-subsidies that go to banks for student loans. Instead, let’s take that money andgive families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. And let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years – and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service. Because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. And it’s time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs’ 

My thoughts on this:

  1. The tax credit and increase in pell grants will go a long way and help many families.
  2. Students being only required to pay 10% of their income on student loans and their debts being forgiven after 20 years will take a HUGE burden off of a lot of people! This one is a biggie in my opinion.
  3. Calling for colleges/universities to cut their own costs. I could not agree more! One of the annoying things at Rutgers is that as a part of our tuition, we pay some money to use the printing services at the libraries and computer labs. We are given about $30-32 dollars (i think) worth to use in printing twice a year (one for the fall and winter semesters and another one for the spring and summer semesters). However, we are not given an option on whether we want to do this or not! I, next to never, use the printing services (because I don’t usually have the time in between in classes and whatnot to use it  up). And we don’t get the amount we don’t use back either, so I am being gypped of about 60 dollars each year for this. And this is just one of those ridiculous fees we pay… so they all add up!

Now by no means am I naive. So in no way am I expecting a hundred percent of what was said tonight to happen in reality. However, I want SOMETHING done! As Obama said today: “In the United States of America, no one should go broke because they decided to go to college”.

Here are the other important highlights from his address (VERY briefly):

  • Obama called for a crack down on the violations nationwide of the equal pay acts so that men and women get equal pay for an equal day’s work. As a women, of course, I find this to VERY important. It’s so sad that even now women are still fighting for just basic things!!
  • A call for doubling the child care tax credit; expanding tax credit for families with children.
  • Healthcare! discussed very briefly though.
  • The state of the economy and the ENORMOUS deficit the country faces.
  • Obama said he plans to work with Congress to repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country in the armed services. No matter what your religious and/or political views are on gays and lesbians, they are people and they have rights 

What were your thoughts on his speech and some of the issues in general?

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

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