Posts Tagged ‘ college savings ’

5 Family Goals From Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Working families was a main focus in President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, with an emphasis on helping parents ease the financial struggles of raising kids.

Last night, the President shared the story of one couple, Rebekah and Ben Erler, who raised two sons through tough times. In sharing their story, President Obama said, “America, Rebekah and Ben’s story is our story. They represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled.”

Rebekah and Ben’s story also became the foundation for the President to segue into other important family concerns, which included the following goals.

Goal: Affordable, High-Quality Child Care

For families like the Erlers who need (but can’t afford) outside help to care for their kids, the President promised to make “affordable, high-quality child care” more available. “It’s not a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. It’s time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us,” he said.

Goal: A New Tax Cut for Children

In order to make affordable child care a possibility, the President supported “lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year.” As a step toward this direction, he proposed “a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.” He also proposed closing tax loopholes that allowed America’s one percent to evade paying taxes in order to “help more families pay for child care and send their kids to college.”

Goal: Paid Sick Leave and Paid Maternity Leave

Forty-three million people in the U.S. do not get paid sick leave, a shocking statistic that the President shared. “Today, we’re the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers,” he said. “And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home.”

To implement paid sick leave and paid maternity leave, the President already started the ball rolling. Last week, he announced that federal employees would be getting up to six weeks of paid maternity leave for the birth or adoption of a child, which he hoped to expand to more moms across America. And he’s supporting a new act that will give employees up to seven paid sick days in a year.

Goal: Free Community College

The 2013 and 2014 State of the Union addresses focused on providing universal pre-K to America, allowing kids to have free schooling before kindergarten. This year, the President focused more on higher education.

To ensure that kids have the opportunity to attend college without fear of debt, the President promised “to lower the cost of community college — to zero.” Because 40 percent of kids choose to attend community college, he saw value in showing kids “that two years of college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is today.” In cutting costs, Obama hoped to reduce the burden of college loans, “so that student debt doesn’t derail anyone’s dreams.”

Goal: Online Privacy for Children

With the increase in cyberbullying and hacking, the President also made online privacy a priority, stating that no one should have the right to “invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids.” He promised to combat cyber threats and urged Congress “to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information.” (Side note: This past week, Illinois passed a law that allowed schools and universities to request a student’s social media password.)

The President also conveyed some trademark words of hope, stressing that his goals would help “hardworking families make ends meet.” Ultimately, he said, “I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for our own kids.”

Read the full transcript of the 2015 State of the Union Address.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com who covers baby-related content. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea

Image: President Obama giving the 2015 State of the Union Address at the White House via the official White House Twitter account

Add a Comment

College Students Struggling with Soaring Textbook Costs

Monday, September 16th, 2013

A growing number of college students are buckling under the pressure of rising textbook costs–at a time when tuition and living expenses are already pushing many families’ finances to the limit.  Textbook prices have been subject to triple-digit inflation, according to a new research report published by the US Public Interest Research Group.  More from NBC News:

With the average student shelling out $1,200 a year just on books, students, professors and policy groups are searching for ways to circumvent the high cost of traditional textbooks.

It’s no simple multiple-choice question. Growing rental and e-book markets lower prices but come with a convenience cost. Budding open-source textbook programs hold promise but aren’t mainstream yet. Meanwhile, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group says 70 percent of students admit they just skip buying some books, saving money but often inflicting a high price on their academic success.

“It’s getting to the point where students can‘t afford them anymore,” said Nicole Allen, director of the open educational resources program at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. “It limits access they need to complete their education, which can undercut their ability to perform in class.”

The College Board found that the average student at a four-year public college spends $1,200 on “books and supplies,” or nearly $1,250 if they go to a private school. On the public policy blog of the American Enterprise Institute, where he is a fellow, University of Michigan-Flint economics professor Mark J. Perry highlighted a chart showing an 812 percent increase in the cost of college textbooks since 1978, a jump even higher than the percentage growth in the cost of health care.

“Students are, in essence, a captive market,” said Ethan Senack, higher education associate at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. “The publishing industry is dominated by five companies that dominate upwards of 85 percent of the market.”

“I think part of it is the consolidation… There’s less competition now,” Perry said. “The other thing that irritates students and professors quite a bit is they’ve really sped up the publishing schedule,” with new editions coming out every couple of years.

Image: College textbooks, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Under Pressure, More Colleges Freezing, Reducing Tuition

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

The cost of college is a source of anxiety for virtually every family with children, and amid growing calls to stem the tide of skyrocketing tuition prices, a growing number of colleges and universities are taking steps to freeze or reduce the cost of attending their schools.  From The Hechinger Report:

After three decades of tuition hikes that have outpaced inflation and increases in family income, students, families, legislators and governing boards are demanding a halt.

“Enough is enough,” says Anne Mariucci, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents, which for the first time in 20 years has frozen in-state tuition at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University after increases over the last five years of 84 and 96 percent, respectively.

Some private universities, too, have agreed to stop raising their tuition, or even cut it, after being alarmed to discover their enrollments starting to slip.

A proposed amendment to the California constitution would ban public universities from raising tuition for students who have already enrolled, and debates are under way in Texas and Massachusetts to take similar steps at their public universities.

Image: Graduate holding piggy bank, via Shutterstock.

Add a Comment