Earlier today, President Obama and the First Lady spoke about expanding college opportunity so that every student who works hard can get a higher education. Later, the President's education advisor, Roberto Rodriguez, answered your questions about the issue during the first-ever White House Q&A on Facebook.
The White House uses Facebook, and other social media sites, to engage directly with citizens and give our followers a unique look inside the White House. Missed the chat? Be sure to like us for the latest news and more chances to connect directly with the Obama administration.
The White House Hey everyone, it's Roberto Rodriguez, President Obama's education advisor. I'll be answering your questions on the President's call to action to expand #CollegeOpportunity for every hardworking student. Ask away below, and I'll start answering shortly.
Abigail Chambers How do you define success for this initiative?
The White House America used to be the world's leader in college completion. We've been outpaced by other nations -- and slipped beyond the top 10 countries in the world. We need an all-hands-on deck approach to regain our leadership. Success is when our colleges and universities, governors, federal and local leaders, teachers, parents and students all work together to accelerate our progress toward that goal.
Carol Pratt Lozito What are the major colleges & universities doing to help the President with his plan?
The White House Thanks for the question, Carol. Over 100 colleges and universities and 40 organizations are joining President Obama and the First Lady to help more students reach and succeed in college -- building new summer bridge programs for students; leveling the playing field in college advising and preparation; and ensuring a strong start in college so that every student can successfully earn his or her degree. Click here to learn more and to urge your partners in your community to take action.
Sam Klein Thank you, to the President and his staff, for bringing to light the issue of the importance of an education. As has been clear from decades of research, early childhood education is a key to a student's chances of attending college in the future. Will there be expansion of early childhood opportunities in the next few years?
The White House Hi Sam, thanks for the question. POTUS has called for a new partnership with states to provide preschool for all, and to grow the supply of great early learning programs for our youngest children. We'll make a downpayment on that vision this year thanks to a great appropriations bill from Congress that delivers for our kids.
Mallory Reese Kirschenbaum What do you have in store for increasing science and technology integration in our school system?
The White House A growing share of America's jobs demand a strong set of knowledge and skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). President Obama has set a goal to recruit and prepare 100,000 new math and science teachers over the next 10 years, and to launch a new, national Corps of America's best and brightest teachers in these subjects. We should encourage our young people to be innovators and creative learners, and do more to help put them on a path to succeed in the STEM fields. Learn more here.
Christina Turiano There is so much that needs to be done to help low-income students become college ready. What is on the agenda? And a lifetime saddled with student debt really isn't feasible for a low-income student. Has there been any real discussion about college affordability or minimizing student debt? The cost of college is unbelievable, and the current government repayment plans don't help students with private loans and don't go far enough.
The White House Good points - we've seen the cost of college grow faster than ever before over the past 10 years. We must start early to prepare each of our young people for college and career, by raising expectations for teaching and learning in our schools, and by bringing a great teacher to every classroom. We're also doing more to provide students and their families the information they need as they begin their college search, to find a school that will deliver an affordable, high-quality education. Use our Administration's College Scorecard to learn more. #CollegeOpportunity
Merlyn Deng Why are interest rates on student loans so high? In spite of having some of the greatest institutions in the world, what do we need to do to lower the # of students saddled with so much debt?
The White House President Obama believes we must do more to keep college affordable for our nation's students. He was proud to work with Congress last year to keep interest rates low on student loans one key part of his college opportunity agenda.
Jess Miller I'm from a middle class family, and I don't qualify for ANY federal financial assistance, including subsidized loans. As a result, I'm working three jobs just to pay my rent, and won't even be able to pay off my college debt until after graduation. Will you be expanding grants for students like me?
The White House Jess, we've expanded the Pell Grants award by $900 to help more students like you reach college, and we've kept interest rates low on federal student loans so that you can invest in your college degree and in your future. Learn more about your financial aid options -- and contrast and compare colleges for you.
Annetta Garner What can be done for students trying to get an education who already have an enormous amount of student loan debt, more than they will ever repay? What can be done for people with so much student loan debt and added interest that they will never be able to repay the debt. Paying more for student loans than a house is outrageous. Too much interest added and no way out!!!
The White House Annetta, financing your higher education is one of the most important investments that you make for your future. That's why the President has launched a new pay as you earn program, to help manage the monthly repayment of your student loans. Learn more about pay as you earn here.
Lisa L. Flowers How has Common Core affected The White House's approach to college education?
The White House In order to succeed in college, all of our students deserve the opportunity to reach high standards that will prepare them for college and successful careers. Our Administration has launched a race to the top that begins in America's classrooms, and we'll continue to partner with states as they help every student become college and career-ready. Learn more here.
Kimberly Dalton Bridge How come other countries go out of their way to educate their people and we seem to do everything possible to keep that from happening? I mean who wants to come out of school and automatically be 100 grand in debt?? How does this country expect to remain a super power if the people aren't educated enough to tie their own shoes??
The White House Kim, education is our key to an economy that is built to last, and an important rung on our ladder of opportunity into the middle class. We must do more to ensure that every student is on track to graduate from high school and to continue on to college and to successful careers. Only 30% of our low-income students enroll in college just after high school - we can all work together to do better. Click here to learn more.