Obama Lures Young Voters with College Affordability

Mary Rohweder

Widener University Political Science Major

President Obama has started to share details of his plan to make college more affordable for students – a political move that is likely to attract the attention of young voters and possibly mobilize them to vote if the topic becomes powerful enough during these crucial next months. Although much media attention has been on the Republican candidates who will face Obama in the general election, we still need to pay attention to the fact that President Obama is maintaining his own campaign in his endeavor to be re-elected.

The plan outlines many changes such as maintaining a set interest rate, doubling the number of work-study opportunities, increasing the amounts for federal loans and grants to be available, and rewarding higher education institutions who strive to improve affordability for students within their own financial aid programs. There are concerns about the proposal: for example, it may be challenging for certain institutions to lower tuition in the face of state budget cuts without compromising on what the school has to offer its students. The financial effect of this plan is also an issue, since it is unclear at this point whether increased taxes will fund the changes. However, this strategy will definitely be something that young voters will have personal interest in, which may result in political engagement. The Obama campaign has relied upon youth voters for its political success and has made education a priority in the administration.

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