Repeating his goal of once again having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by the end of the decade, President Obama focused on the necessity of investing in innovation and education to “win the future” and compete in the global economy Tuesday night in his second State of the Union address.
The president proposed a five-year freeze in discretionary spending on nondefense programs but would exempt education and research, saying that “cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine.” He also pledged to veto any bill that contains earmarks.
On the tax front, the president urged Congress to make permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), which provides $10,000 in tuition relief for each child for four years of college, a tax break originally included in the economic stimulus bill passed in 2009.
In other items of interest to higher education, he proposed beginning debate on immigration reform to deal with the problem of undocumented students and foreign college graduates, saying that we need to “stop expelling talented responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses and enrich this nation.” The president also called on college campuses to open the doors to military recruiters and the ROTC in the wake of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
For the media’s take on education and the State of the Union address, see the following:
Shielding Education and Research
Inside Higher Ed
Obama Calls for Spending Freeze but Says He'll Spare Education
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Obama Lauds Education, Technology in State of the Union Address
The President as College Counselor
The New York Times (free reg. req.)