SOTU 2014: More Progress for College Students [COLUMN]

During last week's State of the Union address, I was proud to hear our president talk about higher education. President  Barack Obama has made our generation a priority to committing to build equal opportunities for students of all backgrounds. For instance, he discussed plans of a College Opportunity Summit, where "already 150 universities, businesses, non-profits have made concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education and to help every hardworking kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus."

The cost of college attendance is currently unacceptably high, but the president has put college affordability front and center. The President created a College Scorecard to help inform students about financial aid opportunities and keep student loan rates low. Additionally, his administration formulated The Race to the Top: College Affordability and Completion, an incentive to graduate more college students, and proposed to invest in the First in the World competition, a cause that supports public institutions and non-profit organizations find strategies to ultimately reduce the cost of college attendance nationwide.

Without financial aid and scholarships, I would not be able to afford a college education at Ramapo. However, as a recipient of a Federal Pell grant, I am proudly able to chase after and achieve my academic pursuits, along with over eight million other undergraduates. Under the Obama administration, this funding has stabilized and increased in the national budget over recent years.

Notably, the president also discussed that Congress needs to step up to boost our economy and strengthen our country. By heeding the President's call and raising the minimum wage, Congress would affirm that it is unacceptable for a person to work full time and live below the poverty line. Raising the minimum wage is especially important to young people, many of whom rely on hourly jobs to help pay for their educations.

President Obama has fought to expand opportunity for all Americans. He has not forgotten about young adults along the way. As the president of the local chapter, the Ramapo College Democrats and I are thrilled to continue to stand with the president for another two more years of positive progress.