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Higher Ed Experts Call President Obama’s ‘College Affordability’ Speech at U of M “political theater of the worst sort”

by P.D. Lesko

President Obama came to Ann Arbor to tell the country that federal aid to colleges should be tied to tuition costs. Federal aid to students would remain untouched, and a cranky Congress would have to pass the President’s proposed plan. The reactions were swift and in some cases revealed thinly veiled contempt—and this was just from the academics:

“Fuzzy math,” Illinois State University’s president called Obama’s proposal. At Washington, President Mike Young said Obama showed he did not understand how the budgets of public universities work.

“They really should know better,” Young said. “This really is political theater of the worst sort.”

Harsh words from University presidents about the speech President Obama delivered recently at the University of Michigan.

The academic crowd didn’t stop here.

“Focusing on the net price that colleges charge is focusing on a symptom of a very complex process,” said David Feldman, chairman of the economics department at the College of William and Mary and the co-author of Why Does College Cost So Much? “ It’s naïve to think that you can jawbone down the net price without jawboning down quality.”

I didn’t bother to go to hear President Obama speak about

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