President Obama highlights education in State of the Union address

During his third State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for renewed focus on making college more accessible for students.

In his speech, President Obama said that expansion of training programs at community colleges, increased federal work-study job opportunities and the extension of tuition tax credits were all important in ensuring that a college education is a realistic goal for students across the country. He also asked Congress to reconsider plans to double interest rates on student loans, which are scheduled to come into effect in July.

The president also said that average, middle-class families would no longer be asked to subsidize increasing tuition fees at many colleges.

"Higher education can't be a luxury, it is an economic imperative that every family should be able to afford," said President Obama, as quoted by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The president also said that high schools in all states to require students to stay in school until they are 18. He also called for the suspension of plans to repeal the Dream Act, which permits children of illegal immigrants to receive financial aid. 

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