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President to discuss costs of education while in Syracuse

By ANNA MEILER

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WKTV) - President Barack Obama was in Syracuse Thursday, discussing the cost of higher education.

Speaking at Henninger High School, the discussion on education was at the forefront of the President's agenda of the middle class, saying he has aggressive aggressive proposals that he claims will 'shake up the system.'

It's the president's first trip to Syracuse and he'll be talking to students, teachers and parents about the future of education.

Earlier this month the president signed a measure into law that brought student interest loans back down to 3.4 percent after they doubled on July 1.

He says that if tuition costs continue to sky rocket, it won't matter how low interest rates are, students will still be facing a lifetime of daunting payments.

Students in New York graduate with an average of $26,000 in debt.

Laying out on Thursday what he called a national strategy, the proposed reform has three main goals:

1) Giving colleges incentives to lower tuition costs and doing more with less.

2) Working with states to give institutions higher priorities in their budgets.

3) Increase competition between colleges in terms of coming up with ways to make education more affordable.

Thursday was move-in day for many colleges and students at campuses like SUNYIT said tuition costs and student loans are a very real and daunting concern for them.

"It's a little bit scary," said Maxwell Oppong, a senior at SUNYIT. "You put so much money into something and you don't know actually if you're going to get out and find a job right away. Student loans, after you graduate, that's when you start paying them off and the interest starts incurring. So, I mean, it's a big ordeal if you don't find a job."

Acting President at SUNYIT, Robert Geer said he was glad to see people having open discussions about student loans, saying it is something that needs to be paid attention to.

The Higher Education Act will expire at the end of the year and is the law governing the federal financial aid programs. It was last rewritten in 2008 but federal lawmakers are planning a rewrite this fall.

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