Obama's proposals could greatly impact RGV

News Center 23

POSTED: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 8:20am

UPDATED: Friday, August 23, 2013 - 9:40am

Obama's plans to implement a college rating system based on certain measures like the average tuition, loan and graduate rate are ultimately aimed at lowering the cost of college tuition. But one factor of this proposed college rating system includes the percentage of lower income students who attend that college.

"Look at us here in the Rio Grande Valley," said TSC Director of Financial Aid, Arnold Trejo. "Look at us at Texas Southmost College. Um, probably when it's all said and done, 85% of our students will qualify for federal financial assistance."

The majority of college students today need financial assistance to go through school today. Financial experts urge the government to do this through the Pell Grant, a primary federal aid source for students:

"We need more investments in the Pell Grant program," said Trejo.

"If you increase the Pell, which is a grant that doesn't have to be repaid, then the students may have to take less in loans to be repaid and that would reduce their debt," said CEO of Workforce Solutions - Cameron County, Pat Hobbs.

"Although being able to save money and graduate sooner is particularly important in lower socioeconomic areas like the Rio Grande Valley, some students at Texas Southmost College have mixed opinions about Obama's proposals for 2015."

"In my opinion, I don't think they're going to lower the cost so soon. I think they have to do, uh, so much process for them to pass it. I'm hoping they do, but I doubt it," said TSC student Lisa Serratl.

"Well I think that his plan of a lower tuition is good because that means more people will have more jobs and opportunities to make money," said TSC student Josue Ramirez.

The proposal still awaits congressional approval, but officials believe the economic impact it will have on colleges could be controversial.

"Any attempt to, uh, improve the financial aid system for students is laudable, but you got to be careful when you structure it so that you don't impact access," said Hobbs.

Reporting in Brownsville, Marty Watson, KVEO News Center 23.

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