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Obama on Law School Tenure and Student Loans

Last week, President Obama went pitching for affordability in college education from all angles possible in his two- day bus tour of upstate New York.

On Friday, speaking to a gathering of students and faculty at the University of Binghamton, Obama observed “I think law schools would be wise to think about being two years instead of three.” His take was that it was better for law students to spend the third year working under practicing lawyers.

At Binghamton, Obama repeated his stance on college affordability that he presented earlier on Thursday at the University of Buffalo. Talking to a crowd of about 7,000 there, he unveiled a new government rating system that would judge schools on affordability and the ratings would affect federal financial aid allocation. He emphasized that “Higher education cannot be a luxury.”

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The new rating system may come into existence before 2015 school year as it does not require congressional approval, and the White House is attempting to put it into place as soon as possible. However, congressional support would be needed if the rating system is used as a basis to allocate federal aid.

One of the proposals made by the President requires that in colleges with high dropout rates, students be not paid in lump sum, but over the course. This is aimed to ensure that students who drop out do not receive funds for the time that they do not attend school.

At Binghamton University, Obama said that college-student debt needs to be controlled and that states should spend much more on higher education than they are currently spending.

Obama promised, “We’re going to cap the monthly payment you have to make at 10 percent of your income … That way, it’s manageable. You don’t have to make career decisions based on how you can pay back your student loan.”

He told the students amidst laughter that he didn’t expect all the proposals to be popular.

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