BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Ahead of President Barack Obama's visit to Western New York, the White House is making a big push to educate the public about the escalating cost of higher education.
In his 2012 State of the Union speech, he touched on making college more affordable.
"We can't just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition. We'll run out of money," President Obama stated.
The Commander-in-Chief has said that colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down. Average tuition and fees, according to the White House, have increased more than 250 percent over the past three decades, while incomes for typical families grew by on 16 percent.
"So let me put colleges and universities on notice. If you can't stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down," President Obama warned in his State of the Union address.
The president will be taking his message directly to the people. And while the details of his plan are not yet known, he's expected to talk about the idea of re-thinking how the nation pays for higher education.
Cecilia Munoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, tells News 4 that President Obama's speech at the University at Buffalo on Thursday will focus on college costs.
"He is very, very serious about making sure to hold colleges and universities accountable for their costs, to hold states accountable for making sure they're investing in a college education for students all across the country," she said.
In an e-mail sent to supporters about his bus trip that begins in Buffalo, the president says his plan includes "real reforms that would bring lasting change."
In his State of the Union, President Obama said, "Higher education cannot be a luxury for a privileged few. it is an economic necessity that every family should be able to afford."
His e-mail tells supporters the average student taking out loans to pay for education graduates with more than $26,000 in debt, and that's something he is hoping to change.
News 4 Political Analyst Len Lenihan says the president’s visit comes just at the right time for students.
"I think it's timely, and obviously important. Students are undertaking tremendous debt, some of them have no idea how they're going to pay this in 10, 20 years."
This is the first visit to UB by a sitting president since 1853 when Millard Fillmore was in the White House. It’s expected that President Obama will be landing at the Buffalo Niagara Airport around 10:30 a.m. Thursday and his speech will begin at UB around 11 a.m.
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