Education: ‘It’s Part of the American Dream’ VP Biden Says

Vice President Joe Biden rallied for the importance of higher education and making it affordable for all students.

For the first time a slight majority of parents are questioning whether or not the investment of a college education is worth it, Vice President Joe Biden said to a crowded gym full of Central Bucks West, East and South high school students on Friday morning.

Until recently, “I’ve never met any mom and dad who didn’t want their kid to go to college because you know that it’s more than a dream … It’s part of the American Dream,” Biden said.

He and Anthony Miller, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education, traveled to to talk about college affordability and the importance of getting an education past high school.

“Most of you in this school are qualified and want to go to college. The single most important thing we can do is make sure you can get to college [and] afford college,” Biden said.

During his discussion, Biden mentioned that middle class wages are staggering while the cost of college tuition continues to rise. In Pennsylvania, tuition has gone up two and a half times, Biden said.

“That’s what’s happening all across America,” he added. “Your parents are sitting here proud of you hoping you have a wonderful senior year, but they’re worried.”

Because of the rising cost of education, students and families are taking out loans. That permits students to attend school, but leaves them with debt after graduation. Seventy percent of kids who go to college in Pennsylvania go with college loans, Biden said, and on average, they graduate with roughly $28,000 in debt.

“You get your diploma and a bill for $28,000 when you cross the stage,” he said.

Biden added that even after “every single penny” he could borrow to put his children through school, they too ended up with debt.

“My one son graduated from Yale with $110,000 in debt,” he said. And his daughter who is a social worker paid more for her tuition than she makes, he added.

During a question-and-answer session, one mom asked what is driving up the cost of higher education.

Biden responded that states are reducing their contributions, professors’ salaries have escalated significantly and universities are spending money on enhancing physical attributes of the campus to attract competition to get the best students.

“It’s a complicated puzzle,” he said.

The first target Biden and President Barak Obama set when elected was to help America to once again be the leading nation with college grads by 2020.

“We are 16th in the world now. Fifteen other countries graduate a higher percentage of their population,” he said. “This is about making sure America is the strongest nation in the world.”

Biden addressed the students directly when he said never once have the American people let the country down, and their generation is no exception.

“You are about to become the generation that controls the 21st century,” he said. “All we gotta do is give you a chance and you guys will own the world.”

Originally published on Doylestown Patch

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