President Obama in Buffalo today warned that soaring college costs are crippling the middle class.
New York students leave college with an average of nearly $26,000 in loans, President Obama said Thursday in a speech in Buffalo. The president started a two-day bus trip through upstate New York on Thursday, heading to Buffalo this morning and Syracuse at about 6 p.m.
Obama’s focus is on limiting college costs and enact tougher oversight of colleges’ performance and expenses. It’s the longest trip Obama has taken in New York since he took office in 2009, and he’s expected to make some impromptu stops along the way, perhaps in Rochester and Auburn, home to the Harriet Tubman House.
But the focus will be soaring college costs.
“More than ever before, some form of higher education is the surest path into the middle class,” Obama said in Buffalo. “But what I want to talk about today is what’s become a barrier and a burden for too many American families, and that is the soaring cost on higher education.”
Obama outlined a number of steps to control costs. He wants to tie financial aid to college performance and publish new college ratings before the 2015 school year.
“The current system is unsustainable,” Obama said.
In 2011, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature agreed to increase costs at the State University of New York campuses by $300 annually for five years. The hikes are increasing annual undergraduate tuition a total of 30 percent over five years, from $4,970 to $6,470.
Cuomo, along with his three daughters, greeted Obama when he arrived in Buffalo.