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Obama invests in higher education

The Obama Administration sees education as a solution to the economic crisis.


""The president is investing in education. He sees it as the key to our economic future,"" said Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, in a press confernce call Feb. 1.

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A year ago, President Barack Obama set a goal to improve education so the United States would have the highest number of college graduates by 2020.


According to Duncan, the U.S. needs to add an additional 10 million students to meet its goal.


""We are trying to be as creative and thoughtful as we can to help students get into college,"" Duncan said.


The administration hopes to strengthen education through the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act.


""This constitutes the biggest investment in higher education since the GI Bill,"" Duncan said.


The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act will invest $40 billion to increase the annual Pell Grant Scholarship.


The administration projects that in 2019, the Pell Grant will be worth $6,900.


The Recovery Act of 2009 increased the Pell Grant by more than $600, and Obama's 2010 budget will increase the maximum award from $5,350 to $5,550.


Some are asking where the money for the new bill will come from.


""We can do all of this without going back to taxpayers for an additional dime or increasing the national debt,"" said Duncan.


According to Duncan, the government will stop subsidizing banks and put money toward education.


""From a policy standpoint, there is nothing better we can do than stop subsidizing banks,"" said Duncan.


Many students think increasing money for grants and scholarships is the right move.


""I think education is a good investment,"" said undeclared sophomore Derek Miles.


""Our education system is at a point now where it needs all the money it can take,"" said David Okiyama, a pre-business junior. ""Any additional resources being sent to education is a good thing.""


The bill proposes a drop in the Income Based Repayment plan, from 15 percent to 10 percent. 


This would forgive remaining debt after 20 years, and forgive the debt of people in public service careers after 10 years.


If passed, the bill will also further simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form.


""We think the FAFSA form itself has been a huge barrier,"" Duncan said.


The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act has passed the House and is awaiting a Senate vote.


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