By Amanda Lavergne
With the recent recession, this upcoming academic year is supposed to be one of the toughest to find financial aid. However, with the stimulus bill that is currently moving through Congress, Obama has several plans to make financial aid easier for families to come by.
According to barackobama.com it states that he and Vice President Joe Biden plan to create a new American Opportunity Tax Credit worth $4,000 in exchange for community service. This would ultimately cover two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university and make community college completely free for most students.
“I think it’s great that Obama is trying to do more for higher education,” said senior Dante Odoardi. “I knew a lot of people who can’t afford even community college so hopefully by Obama making changes a lot more people will get more academic opportunities.”
In addition to this, the stimulus package is likely to boost Pell Grants for low income students and students will also be able to take out an additional $2,000 in unsubsidized Stafford loans every year.
Kelly Feehan, a sophomore who used to attend Marist and recently transferred to SUNY New Paltz, has felt the effects of the slumping economy.
“My dad lost his job and my mom had to sell the store that she owned and it was tough to make ends meet,” said Feehan. “But I’m happy to hear that Obama is working so hard to make college more affordable for all kinds of people.”
In addition to this, Obama also stated on his website that he would like to simplify the application process for financial aid by enabling families to apply for aid simply by checking a box on their tax form authorizing their tax information to be used and thus eliminating the need for a separate application.
“I honestly had no idea that Obama was trying to make things so much easier for higher education,” said sophomore Retta Byron. “If we were in fact allowed to apply for financial aid through tax forms I think that it would eliminate a lot of stress in people’s lives.”
Feehan agreed adding, “I know that personally I hate having to take the time to fill out loan applications and forms for financial aid, so if this policy was enacted I think it would make a lot of people much happier.”
For more information on the stimulus package and how it will affect education, please go to barackobama.com or take a look at this article at http://www.marionstar.com/article/20090204/NEWS01/902050317.