Related video: Discussion on funding a college education
Biden said the United States has slipped to 16th in the world in the proportion of young people earning a college degree. Thus, improving affordability “is not just about helping you, this is not just about keeping a commitment to the middle class," he said. "This is about making sure America’s the strongest nation in the world.”
Biden has given similar talks in Ohio and Florida recently, part of the Obama administration’s efforts to address growing anxiety about the price of college and to highlight steps it has taken to boost federal grants and make loans easier to pay off.
With growth in tuition costs far outpacing income and other consumer price increases, surveys show college affordability is a great source of concern for many American families.
Only 22 percent believe most people can afford to pay for college, down from 39 percent in 1985, according to a survey last spring by the Pew Research Center in Washington. Only 5 percent say the higher education system is providing excellent value for the money.
Yet college officials, the Obama administration, and many families still view college as an essential investment in both individuals’ and the nation’s future. Ninety-four percent of parents expect their children to go to college, the Pew survey found.