Statement by NAICU President David L. Warren on President Obama’s Higher Education Proposals

January 27, 2012

"We welcome the president's commitment to increasing the federal government's investment in student assistance, including his call for doubling Federal Work-Study funding, expanding the Perkins Loan program, and making the tuition tax credit permanent. We also welcome a more robust conversation on college affordability.

The presidents of private, nonprofit colleges and universities understand the challenges facing students and families who are struggling to afford a quality college education. Independent institutions nationwide are redoubling efforts to cut operating costs, enhance efficiency, and, most important, keep students' out-of-pocket costs as low as possible, while maintaining access for students from all backgrounds and protecting academic quality.

The collective challenge facing the nation is to make college more affordable, without losing our position of having the best higher education system in the world-one in which all Americans can take pride.

The answer is going to come by having colleges continue the on-going, daily work being done to find efficiencies in delivering a quality education. We must continue to do so without cutting support to those students who need extra academic and financial help to stay in school. It will come by having the federal government continue to provide financial support to low-income students who are willing to work hard. And it will come with the federal government also highlighting and encouraging innovative and cost-reducing practices by colleges that can be shared and duplicated.

In short, colleges, states, and the federal government must work together in a climate of mutual trust and collaboration. The answer is not going to come from more federal controls on colleges or states, or by telling families to judge the value of an education by the amount young graduates earn in the first few years after they graduate.

Together, we must ensure the president's proposal does not have unintended consequences for students. Low-income students must not lose the opportunity to use their aid to attend the college that best fits their academic needs, and at which they are most likely to succeed. Students must not see a decline in educational quality and reduced academic support services, if colleges have to start cutting corners.

If colleges are forced toward a more uniform federal model, the range of higher education options for students will shrink, in both the private and public sectors.

Collectively, we must build upon a system that promotes competition, quality, and choice, and brings all the benefits of a free economy to American higher education. Our institutions look forward to working with the administration, Congress, and all of higher education to ensure that college is available to all hard-working Americans."

Media Contact:

Tony Pals
direct office: (202) 739-0474
cell: (202) 288-9333


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