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.

4. Will Obama’s plan work?

AP Photo/The News Dispatch, Bob Wellinski
In this file photo, Purdue University North Central director of enrollment Janice Whisler assists Ashley Cowens and her mother, Cynthia Fehlan with Federal Student Aid paperwork, last March. Some say President Obama's proposal to link aid to school rankings may have unintended consequences.

Obama’s push could encourage consumers to keep pressure on colleges to deliver value. But his proposal to tie rankings to federal aid is easier said than done, and it could have unintended consequences, many say. Also, the federal government is unlikely to be able to tackle the problem in a major way on its own, and “we aren’t going to be able to tweak our way through this,” said Patrick Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute in San Jose, Calif., in an interview with Monitor reporter Amanda Paulson.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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