With a high voter turnout, “We will finish what we started. We will win Ohio,” Obama said,
During an appearance at Capital University in Columbus on Aug. 21, President Barack Obama said making education accessible and affordable for all Americans will continue to be a top priority of his administration if he is reelected.
“I’m only standing before you because of higher education. Making higher education affordable for young people, it’s something I believe in,” he told thousands of supporters who gathered in an outdoor square at Capital University’s campus in east Columbus. “That’s why I’ve made it a top priority in my presidency. And, Ohio, that is what’s at stake in the election.”
Obama recalled that his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, said that students should borrow money from their parents or “shop around” for the lowest tuition in order to attend college during an appearance in Columbus earlier this year.
“He didn’t say anything about work-study programs. He didn’t say anything about community colleges,” Obama said. “That’s his plan… Shop around or borrow money from your parents.”
Not all parents can afford to send their children to college, especially since the nation is still recovering from the recession, Obama said.
“As we’re fighting back from the worst economic recession in history, a lot of people are fighting to make ends meet,” he said. “I don’t accept the notion to deny any child an opportunity to get a higher education.”
President Obama said himself and First Lady Michelle Obama as well as members of his family benefited from programs that assist students with college costs.
“When my grandfather came home from serving in World War II, he was able to go to college because of the GI Bill,” Obama said. “My mother was able to raise me and sister because she got grants to go to college. Michelle and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for scholarships and student loans.”
Ensuring access to higher education is essential to America’s success in the global economy, Obama said.
“In a 21st century economy, a college education should be available to everyone,” Obama said. “It’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity.”
Obama said he has worked to increase access to higher education for students of all income levels.
“Since I took office, 3 million more students have been able to grants, to attend college,” he said.
Obama said Romney’s financial plan would cut Pell Grants in order to pay for “$5 million in tax cuts that’s weighted toward the wealthiest Americans.”
Obama said his administration and Democrats in Congress fought to keep interest rates low on student loans this summer. “Interest rates would have doubled. It would have cost seven million students an extra thousand dollars a year,” he said.
Obama said the new consumer protection agency that he appointed former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head is drafting a “Know Before You Owe” fact sheet about student loans. Romney has vowed to eliminate the consumer protection agency, Obama said.
The president said his administration is also fighting to preserve higher education opportunities for Americans who have served in the armed forces.
“We’ve fought to make the post-911 GI Bill strong so that everybody that has served our country has the chance to earn a college education,” he said.
In order to be successful in his reelection bid, Obama said he will need the participation and enthusiasm of college students and other young people.
“I’m going to need your help,” he told the Capital University crowd. “Young people, especially, I need your help. I need you to make sure you’re registered to vote at your current address. When you register, take 10 people with you.”
Obama encouraged supporters to visit the website Gottaregister.com for information about how to register to vote.
With a high voter turnout, “We will finish what we started. We will win Ohio,” Obama said, “And we will remind the world why America is the greatest nation on Earth.”