EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - President Obama announced a plan to make college more affordable for the middle class Thursday.
The president said he's looking to grade colleges by educational value and will reward the top scores with more funding.
The president's plan would reward schools that have low tuition and student debts, and high graduation rates and earnings after getting their degree.
“Too many students are facing a choice that they should never have to make. Either they say no to college and pay the price for not getting a degree -- and that's a price that lasts a lifetime -- or you do what it takes to go to college, but then you run the risk that you won't be able to pay it off because you got so much debt. Now, that's a choice we shouldn't accept,” Obama said.
Obama told the University of Buffalo his new plan of rating colleges to offer financial aid and grants.
“It is time to stop subsidizing schools that are not producing good results, and reward schools that deliver for American students and our future.”
U.W. Eau Claire and U.W. Stout said they've already made efforts to fit those standards and feel the plan is a good one.
Kathy Sahlhoff, the U.W. Eau Claire director of financial aid and student work experience said the school already fits in that criteria and could benefit from the plan.
The U.S. Department of education's college scorecard shows UWEC has a low cost of attendance and a high graduation rate compared to other schools. Also, in 2012, it had the lowest average student debt in the U.W. System.
“It's just an indication that we're very aware and focused on trying to keep those costs reasonable. We want to offer a quality education but at an affordable cost,” Sahlhoff said.
Sahlhoff said high student loan debt is a problem that can be reduced by saving, working while in school and graduating in four years.
“Every student that is successful is another who is better able to pay back their loan indebtedness and go out and earn and be successful, so all that makes sense for what we're trying to accomplish,” she said.
U.W. Stout said changes to its curriculum will allow more students to graduate in four years, and that it already has a high graduation rate, helping it fit into the president's plan.
The plan will need to be approved by congress.