State of the Union takeaways, follow-up

President Barack Obama delivered his eighth and final State of the Union Address on Jan. 12, 2016, providing the nation with a preview of some of the major issues and initiatives he plans to focus on during the final year of his presidency.

During the State of the Union, several Democrats sported red pins as part of the launch of a new #InTheRed messaging campaign geared to mobilize Members of Congress to address college affordability. President Obama’s comments on higher education amplified that campaign: “… we have to make college affordable for every American. No hardworking student should be stuck in the red. We’ve already reduced student loan payments to 10 percent of a borrower’s income. And that’s good. But now, we’ve actually got to cut the cost of college.” He also touted his free community college proposal and intention to keep pushing Congress to act on it. Just this week, Senate Democrats followed up on the president’s remarks by announcing legislation entitled the Reducing Educational Debt Act. The RED Act wraps three affordability bills into one package, including a bill to allow borrowers to refinance their federal and private student loans at lower interest rates, another measure to index future Pell Grant funding to inflation, and a third measure to make two years of community college tuition-free.