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Higher Education and the Middle Class Bargain

Summary: 
Vice President Joe Biden this week called for the “bargain with the middle class” to be restored: “There was a bargain in place for last 50 years that if you worked hard, you played by the rules, you helped increase productivity in America, you got a piece of the action. You benefited.”

The Vice President visited high schools in Columbus, Ohio and Doylestown, Pennsylvania this week to highlight our Administration’s efforts to make college more affordable for all Americans. He was joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Senator Sherrod Brown in Ohio, and by Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller in Pennsylvania. 

Speaking at Lincoln High School in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday, the Vice President called for the “bargain with the middle class” to be restored: “There was a bargain in place for last 50 years that if you worked hard, you played by the rules, you helped increase productivity in America, you got a piece of the action.  You benefited.”               

President Obama and Vice President Biden believe that making college affordable is an essential part of restoring that bargain. Our Administration has increased the maximum Pell Grant award by more than $800 and created the $2,500 per year American Opportunity Tax Credit. Even with more generous grants and tax credits, most college students borrow money to pay for school, so we are also limiting federal student loan payments to 10% of discretionary income. 

Vice President Joe Biden with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Senator Sherrod Brown in Gahanna, Ohio

Vice President Joe Biden holds a college affordability event with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Senator Sherrod Brown, at Lincoln High School in Gahanna, Ohio, January 12, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

The Vice President told the students about his own family’s financial struggle to send him to college and the importance of education to his success: “A college degree was more than a ticket to be able to make a living; it was about who you are… about the American Dream, the dream that your parents could put you in a position where you could do better than they could do.”               

Vice President Biden also encouraged colleges to cut costs and operate more efficiently without comprising the quality of the education they provide. 

The Vice President will continue to travel across the country talking about the importance of college affordability, and we will keep you updated.

Vice President Joe Biden witha student at Lincoln High School in Gahanna, Ohio

Vice President Joe Biden listens to a question from a student during a college affordability event at Lincoln High School in Gahanna, Ohio, January 12, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)