Biden talks higher education in conference call

Jennifer Shore

Joe Biden

Listen to Biden talk about the importance of higher-education reform.

Vice President Joe Biden gets criticized for calling young Americans the 9/11 generation, but he means it as a compliment.

“There’s over two million of you, who have slapped on a uniform, put on desert boots and walked over the sands of Iraq or into those God-awful mountains I’ve been in a number of times in Afghanistan,” Biden said in a conference call for student journalists on Feb. 2. “You volunteer more than any generation.”

Biden’s remarks followed the ideas President Obama briefly spoke about in the State of the Union address Jan. 24. Both the president and the vice president stressed the importance of aiding students who have trouble affording higher education.

“You deserve all the assistance you can get because you are the most qualified, the most giving and the most consequential generation we’ve had,” Biden said.

Although there are some discrepancies between the Republicans and Democrats, Biden believes in federally funding higher education to economically command the 21st century; however, Greg Allison, senior political science major and president of Kent State College Republicans, disagrees.

“I think we just need to reform education at the state level,” Allison said. “It’s way too hard to do at the national level because one size does not fit all, so I think we’ve got to try it here in Ohio, and hopefully it will work out.”

The president wants Congress to spend $1 billion to encourage universities to refocus on lowering tuitions and raising educational standards, according to a White House fact sheet. Along with keeping interest rates on loans at a steady percentage, there are other federally funded programs to aid students: work-study placement, Perkins Loans and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants.

“I think the biggest problem is that the federal government tries to throw money at it, and so far, it hasn’t worked,” Allison said. “We’re spending more on education than we ever have, but it’s not cutting down costs, and it’s not making institutions better — it’s just making America more broke.

“I think we need to re-evaluate and change the way we do things, and instead of throwing money at it, come up with better, more innovative ideas for education reform,” Allison said.

Contact Jennifer Shore at [email protected].