By Shakir Farid Abdullah, Staff Reporter
Education is an economic imperative that every American family should be able to afford and not just a luxury, said Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, in his State of the Union Address on January 20 2015.
“The most daunting challenge can be the cost of college. At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July 2015,” said President Obama.
A great investment in education would be beneficial for our country, said Katrina Taylor, Instructor and Program Coordinator for the Department of Political Science at CNM.
“Eighty-two percent of Constitutions around the world say that education is a right. Our founding document is in the minority of countries that do not guarantee education to their citizens,” she said.
It is sad that the U.S. burdens its college students with such debt while students in other countries enjoy more support, she said.
Corporations receive a better loan interest rate than students and the working class is being priced out of a college education, she said.
“This is very bad for our country and the world,” Taylor said.
There are such brilliant, creative, and innovative thinkers in our great country, and to truly be the “Land of Opportunity,” access to a higher education in America is essential, she said.
“So personally, I think the President is right on the money with this proposal,” she said.
Higher education has to be made a higher priority in the States’ budgets and the tuition tax credit extended– then middle class families can be saving thousands of dollars, Obama said.
College and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down, he said.
“CNM has done its part to keep students costs down,” said Brad Moore, director of Communications and Media relations for CNM.
Considering the state’s economic conditions and the decline of state funding for higher education, CNM has always made efforts to keep tuition low while being a fiscally responsible steward of taxpayer money, he said.
Tuition at CNM is one-fifth the cost of state universities, he said.
Throughout its 50-year history, CNM has kept tuition rates low, he said.
“To put it in some perspective for the current budget situation, as to how CNM meets its obligations in producing a balanced budget every year, while keeping low tuition rates – the college will receive $1.5 million in state funding for the year ahead. Meanwhile, CNM’s fixed costs will rise by $5 million in the coming year,” Moore said.
Young people can get the chance to earn their way through college with the doubling of the number of work-study jobs in the next five years, Obama said.
CNM would welcome an increase in work-study jobs, because the program is great for students and the college, said Lee Carrillo, senior director of Financial Aid and Scholarship services.
“CNM highly values its student employees and the contributions they make to the CNM community,” he said.
However, all work-study jobs are funded by the federal government, state, and institutional college – as a result, CNM would need an increase in federal funding to add work-study positions, Carrillo said.
Students would be less financially burdened by tuition, and able to have more guidance and insight while achieving a higher education, Taylor said.
“This means my students will have better opportunities for success and will enjoy the benefits of living in a more educated society, of which there are many,” she said.