WASHINGTON -- Warning that many young people are being priced out of college while others are going heavily in debt to afford tuition, President Barack Obama Thursday proposed linking some federal aid to schools that keep costs affordable and maintain solid graduation rates.
He also said states need to reverse the recent trend of reducing allocations to state colleges. In the past five years, state funding for higher education in Louisiana has been cut by nearly $700 million.
Seventy percent of funding now comes from tuition and fees.
"The system's current trajectory is not sustainable," Obama said in a speech at the University of Buffalo. "And what that means is state legislatures are going to have to step up. They can't just keep cutting support for public colleges and universities.... Colleges are not going to be able to just keep on increasing tuition year after year, and then passing it on to students and families and taxpayers."
Obama said he wants to set up a rating system for colleges in 2015 that would include graduation rates, the average debt of graduates and percentage of low-income students. Eventually, he said, some federal financial aid would be tied to how well colleges scored in the rating system, though that would require approval of Congress.
In Louisiana, about 322,800 undergraduate students are enrolled in higher education institutions across the state according to the U.S. Department of Education.