Our View: Obama to give State of the Union address tonight

DKS Editors

President Barack Obama will give his second State of the Union address tonight, calling for a broad “competitiveness” initiative. In his address, which will air on prime time television and online, Obama will propose a series of steps the United States should take to retain its standing as the world’s largest and most influential economy. For the past two months, Obama has given speeches warning our country that without greater innovation, the United States could fall behind other countries — like we did in the 1950s when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.

According to the Washington Post, White House officials say the speech will include a number of ideas, from increasing the number of U.S. exports to improving the American education system.

Our, the students’, main concern is what Obama has planned for the educational system in America. This idea of competitiveness is supposed to link the idea for increased educational spending and other longtime democratic priorities with the agenda to create more jobs in America.

From previous press briefings, Obama’s address will focus on creating more jobs in the country through the available and upcoming technology.

In March 2010, Obama signed legislation to expand college access for millions of young Americans by revamping the federal student loan program.

According to the New York Times, the new law will eliminate fees paid to private banks to act as intermediaries in providing loans to college students, and will use much of the nearly $68 billion in savings over 11 years to expand Pell grants and make it easier for students to repay outstanding loans after graduating.

The law will increase Pell grants, along with inflation, in the next few years, which should raise the maximum grant to $5,975 from $5,550 by 2017, according to the White House, and it will also provide 820,000 more grants by 2020.

Starting in July 2014, students who borrow money will be allowed to cap repayments at 10 percent of income above a basic living allowance, instead of 15 percent. If they keep up payments, their balances will be forgiven after 20 years instead of 25 years — or after 10 years if they are in the field of public service, like teaching, nursing or serving in the military.

The president has proposed this plan to address college completion and strengthen the higher education pipeline to ensure that more students succeed and complete their degree.

We want the president to keep up with his educational reform plans, like he says he will, and help us financially struggling students complete our degrees so we can flow into the new, competitive pipeline we call the “real world.”

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent State editorial board.