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Biden hosts call on higher education

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discussed issues in higher education during a conference call with student journalists across the nation on Thursday. The issues were previously outlined in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 24.

During the call, Biden spoke extensively about the affordability of higher education across the country, recalling his own experience with putting his children through college.

“Being a father of three children who have a combined total of 20 years education — undergraduate and graduate school — there’s a reason why I’m listed as the poorest man to assume the office of vice president,” Biden said. “Like many of you, they worked all through college, and they ended up with an extreme amount of debt.”

Biden specifically referred to parts of Obama’s “Blueprint for Keeping College Affordable and Within Reach to All Americans” during his time on the phone, listing and explaining several aspects of the plan. In particular, Biden addressed the issue of students graduating with high levels of debt. The Obama administration, according to Biden, has proposed a provision that would cap graduates’ loan repayments at 10 percent of their disposable income.

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“We think that when you graduate, you shouldn’t have to graduate buried in debt,” Biden added. “You’ve got to go get the highest paying job whether it’s the one you wanted or not.”

The vice president also explained the administration’s plan to create an incentive for colleges and universities to bring down costs for students. Called the “Race to the Top: College Affordability and Completion,” the initiative would allocate a $1 billion investment to states and institutions that make efforts to maintain tuition and keep costs low for students.

Biden concluded by describing the significance of higher education, saying, “The universities in the United States of America remain the envy of the world.”


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Updated November 30, 2021