Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Obama on Economy, Student Loans; Rise in Community College Enrollment

President Barack Obama shows his legitimate concern and pledges to help students pursuing higher education during these trying economic times. On September 21st, he spoke in a town forum style to a group of Hudson Valley community college students in Michigan. I know that with the lack of support for universal health care and the war in Afghanistan, his approval ratings are not exactly stellar, but I endorse his dedication and methods to improve the quality of both secondary and post-secondary education.

Did you know Obama was actually a transfer college student during undergraduate school? Prior to the President enrolling and eventually graduating from Columbia University with a B.A. in Political Science and International Studies, he attended Occidental College.

Yes, Obama attended Occidental College in California for two years as an undergraduate from 1979-81:Jim Tranquada, Occidental's Director of Communications, said: "Contemporary public documents, such as the 1979-80 freshman 'Lookbook' published at the beginning of President Obama's first year at Occidental, list him as Barack Obama. All of the Occidental alumni I have spoken to from that era (1979-81) who knew him, knew him as Barry Obama."

Although Obama did not attend community college, he is a huge advocate of the community college system. According to an article in the August issue of U.S. News and World Report, enrollment at public community colleges has grown by 30 percent since 2000. President Barrack Obama’s “American Graduation Initiative,” which would invest $12 billion in community colleges over 10 years, has created quite a buzz around two-year colleges.

Community College Fast Facts

Community College Students Constitute the Following Percentages of Undergraduates:
All U.S. undergraduates: 46%
First-time freshmen: 41%
Native American: 55%
Asian/Pacific Islander: 46%
Black: 46%
Hispanic: 55%

Employment Status:
Full-time students employed full time: 27%
Full-time students employed part time: 50%
Part-time students employed full time: 50%
Part-time students employed part time: 33%

Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid:
Any aid: 47%
Federal grants: 23%
Federal loans: 11%
State aid: 12%

Percentage of Federal Aid Received by Community Colleges:
Pell grants: 34%
Campus-based aid: 9%

Average Annual Tuition and Fees:
Community colleges (public): $2,361
4-year colleges (public): $6,185

Degrees and Certificates Awarded Annually:
Associate degrees: 555,000
Certificates: 295,000
Baccalaureates: awarded by 29 public and 66 independent colleges

Revenue Sources (public colleges):
State funds: 37%
Tuition and fees: 17%
Local funds: 21%
Federal funds: 16%
Other: 9%

Obama on Economy, Student Loans (CNBC) Published: 09 Please click here to see CNBC's coverage of Obama's speech at Hudson Valley Community College in which he discusses the economy and student loans. Obama's Video on Education and Student Loans

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