Government Relations

Government Relations Legislative Update

Government Relations Legislative Update

Updates on state and federal issues relating to the UW System.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Federal Update for February 10, 2012

As you know, at the University of Michigan, President Obama delivered remarks ( and released a fact sheet ( on college costs. The President is calling on Congress to advance new reforms that will promote shared responsibility to address the college affordability challenge.

The President outlined five strategies:
  • Reforming student aid. The President will propose reforms to federal campus-based aid programs to shift away from colleges that fail to keep net tuition down and toward those colleges that keep tuition affordable, provide good value, and serve needy students well.
  • Creating a Race to the Top for college affordability and completion. The President would invest $1 billion to spur systemic, state-level reforms (for example, revamping the structure of financing for higher education) that simultaneously lead to increased affordability, quality, and productivity.
  • Creating a First in the World competition to model innovation and quality on campuses. The President would invest $55 million to support colleges and non-profit organizations that are working to establish or scale-up new programs (for example, redesigning courses to make better use of technology) that boost higher education attainment and outcomes.
  • Providing better data for students to choose the right colleges. The President has called for a "College Scorecard" for all degree-granting institutions, designed to supply essential information about graduation rates, college costs, and potential earnings, in an easy-to-read format to help students and families select a college that is suited to their needs, priced affordability, and consistent with their career and educational goals. (Note: A sample screenshot is now available for public review and comment at
  • Providing federal support to tackle college costs. The President has called for Congress to keep interest rates low for 7.4 million student loan borrowers (if Congress does not act, the interest rates for subsidized Stafford student loans will increase from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1), double the number of work-study jobs over the next five years, and make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent.
The following is a document that was prepared by the UW System Offices of Academic Affairs and Budget detailing college costs in the UW System over the past three-plus decades.

(The U.S. Department of Education and the UW System Office of Federal Relations contributed to this report.)