OBAMA TO EXAMINE VALUE OF HIGHER EDUCATION

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.

CONGRESS APPROVES SPENDING TO FIX AIRPORTS

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.