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Briefing

Cutting college costs: five questions about Obama’s proposal (+video)

President Obama unveiled a plan Aug. 22 to make college more affordable. “We can’t price the middle class and everybody working to get into the middle class out of a college education,” he said. Here’s a look at the plan and affordability efforts.

2. What’s been some of the response among academics and lawmakers?

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    In this July file photo, House Education Committee Chairman Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., left, walks to the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington. Most Democrats support President Obama's education plan, while Republicans like Kline do not.
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Democratic lawmakers and interest groups representing students and borrowers lauded the broad ideas. The plan could “truly shake up the broken status quo of our higher education system,” said Aaron Smith, co-founder and executive director of Young Invincibles, which advocates on behalf of 18-to-34-year-olds.

Higher-education associations largely support the thrust of it as well, but they’re cautious or skeptical about a rating system because of the complexities involved.

Rep. John Kline (R), chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said that “imposing an arbitrary college ranking system could curtail the very innovation we hope to encourage – and even lead to federal price controls.” But he said the committee will look at the proposals.

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