Tonawanda News

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August 22, 2013

Obama to visit region today

Tonawanda News — During his last visit to Western New York in 2010, President Barack Obama stopped by a Buffalo manufacturing plant to talk about the nation’s economy before visiting the wing joint Duff’s for lunch.

On his return trip to the region this morning, Obama is headed for the University at Buffalo where he’s expected to deliver a speech on lowering the cost of higher education, a key aspect of his so-called “Better Bargain” for America’s middle class.

How does the president plan on making college more affordable?

Dozens of Niagara County residents will get a chance to hear more details as they attend today’s presidential address inside UB’s Alumni Arena. Among them will be a group of 15 students and employees from Niagara University, an institution of higher learning that would be impacted by the educational aspect of Obama’s “bargain” should it gain support in Washington, D.C. 

“It should be fun,” said Michael Freedman, Niagara University’s associate director of public relations who will be among the contingent heading to Buffalo from the school. “We’re looking forward to it. The topic is timely. It’s something we’ve been hearing so much about, so it should be interesting to hear what the president has to say.”

In discussing his plans for his bus tour in New York this week, Obama described making higher education more affordable as his “personal mission.” He noted that over the past three decades the average tuition at a public four-year college has more than tripled while state governments are reducing spending on education. Obama said it is time for America to “fundamentally rethink” its higher education system through “real reforms” that will make college more affordable, tackle rising costs and improve value for students and families.

As part of his “Better Bargain,” Obama is calling for the doubling of investments in Pell grants, expanding education tax credits, keeping student loan interest rates down and reforming student aid to promote affordability and value, among other initiatives. 

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