Sat. May 25th, 2024

On Jan. 20, President Obama gave his State of the Union address, in which he proposed an idea that could change the face of higher education in the United States.

Early in the address, Obama pointed out that more kids are graduating from both high school and postsecondary education than ever before.

“We believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world, and today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record,” Obama said.

The president pointed out that by 2020, two in three job openings will require higher education. But too many Americans, he continued, cannot afford the education they need—which is why Obama is proposing to make community college free.

9 million full- and part-time students could benefit from the $60 billion proposal, but congressional Republicans say that it has almost no chance of support.

“The State of the Union is a chance to start anew, but all the president offered tonight is more taxes, more government, and more of the same approach that has failed middle-class families,” said House Speaker John Boehner.

Furthermore, Obama asked that the private sector offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships, particularly in the STEM careers.

In reference to the growing alarm about Americans’ privacy, Obama said that no foreign nation or hacker should be able to shut down American networks, steal trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families. Obama’s administration is likely to propose the “Student Digital Privacy Act,” which will ensure that any information collected about students by their schools is for educational purposes only, which would prevent private companies from buying or selling information about students. So far, 20 states have passed similar legislation and 75 companies have agreed to comply.

Clare Haggerty is a fourth-year student majoring in English. She can be reached at

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