President Obama discusses college costs during Syracuse visit - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

President Obama discusses college costs during Syracuse visit

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The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering during Pres. Obama's visit in May 2012. (NEWS10) The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering during Pres. Obama's visit in May 2012. (NEWS10)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – President Obama was in Syracuse Thursday to discuss the importance of every American having the opportunity to achieve a quality education.

The President started his day in Buffalo at the University at Buffalo to kick off the two-day tour of New York where he spoke about creating affordable education for all.

"Higher education is the single best investment you can make in your future," he said.

He then acknowledged that it's an investment that's becoming harder and harder for middle class families to afford.

"The average student who borrows for college now graduates owning more than $26,000; some owe a lot more than that."

He is now proposing a plan to change that, saying it can be done by reducing cost and improving the value of higher education for middle-class students and their families.

The three major points of his plan include paying for performance by tying financial aid to performance; promote innovation and competition, accomplishing this by challenging colleges to offer a greater range of affordability; and making sure that student debt is manageable well after students leave campus. His plan would cap payments at no more than ten percent of monthly income.

The president then received a very warm reception at Henninger High School in Syracuse where hundreds of parents, students and teachers packing into this gymnasium to hear the president's plan for making college more affordable.

With his trademark smile and wave, President Obama took the stage and wasted no time getting down to business.

"There aren't a lot of things that are more important than making sure that people get a good education. That is key to upward mobility, that is key to a growing economy, that is key to a strong middle class," he said.

He explained to the crowd that the cost of college was rising at an unsustainable pace, and at one point it turned personal.

"We each graduated with college and law school with a mountain of debt and even with good jobs. I didn't pay it off; she didn't pay it off her loans until I was almost a U.S. senator," he said, referring to his college loans and his wife's.

President Obama is scheduled to travel to Binghamton University on Friday.

President Obama was last in upstate New York for a visit to Albany in May 2012. He toured the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering with Governor Cuomo, talking about the importance of higher education to strengthen the economy.

During his visit, Obama said, "You've got some of the best workers in the world, an outstanding university. Now I want what happens in Albany to happen all across the country."

Follow NEWS10 on air and online for continuing coverage of President Obama's visits to New York.

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