Student loans, federal spending to be part of the discussion

The Obama administration is asking what people are getting for their money since college drop-outs cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Unemployment remains high, yet high-tech companies are projecting shortages due to a lack of prospects entering the workforce.

Consider the following facts regarding modern higher education and its economic impact:

  • Students with loans are graduating with more than $25,000 in debt.
  • The federal government pours $140 billion annually into federal grants and loans.
  • About 40% of college students at 4 year schools do not graduate.
  • About 20% of full-time students at a community college do not return for a sophomore year.

A commission convened during the George W. Bush administration found literacy rates among college students have declined and higher education has become “increasingly risk-averse, at times self-satisfied, and unduly expensive.”

The president is on record with his belief that post-secondary schools need to be more transparent regarding tuition costs and the success of their graduates.



Local airports will be receiving millions to build and upgrade.

Congress has authorized spending $564 million as part of the government’s “Let’s Get Back to Work” program to both build new airports and fix existing airports. Local projects will be getting a share of the spending, which will be used to create employment opportunities for laid off construction workers and engineers.

The following is breakdown of local awarded funds:

  • $3.8 million to New Ulm Municipal to build a runway extension.
  • $2.3 million to Blue Earth Municipal to repair their runway.
  • $96,000 to Le Seur to buy land.
  • $62,000 to Waseca for a taxiway.

Airports in Rushford, Jackson, Fairbault and Owatonna will also be receiving funding. ├ČThis is a small price to pay to help folks out who want to work,├« President Barack Obama said.

Opponents to the increased spending point out that the “Let’s Get Back to Work” program might end up costing $1 trillion.