President prepares to unveil plan to make college more affordable

Posted at: 08/21/2013 5:42 PM
Updated at: 08/22/2013 10:48 AM
By: Jessica Layton

GUILDERLAND - Guilderland High School graduate Schyler Smith was prepared to pull an all-nighter packing for her first semester at Syracuse University.

She wants to study biology, but the process of applying for college quickly became a serious lesson in economics. Schyler's big dream school comes with a huge price tag -- about $57,000 a year.

Asked what she thought when she saw that number on paper, she said "People ask me all the time how much is Syracuse? And you cringe. That's the price of a house that you have to pay for education now."

As Schyler starts her freshman year at SU, her brother Ryan is in his second year at the University at Albany.

"Parents are really struggling and sacrificing to give kids the education they deserve," said mom Kelly Smith.

Scott and Kelly Smith have vowed to make it work. They feel fortunate they can, knowing other families can't. Over the past 30 years, the average cost of tuition at a four year college has tripled.

Obama says college now comes with a price tag that's preventing too many students from following their dreams. Thursday, he'll travel to Buffalo and Syracuse to unveil his plan to expand education tax credits, invest more money in Pell Grants and outline a "Pay As You Earn" plan for students repaying school loans.

Back at the Smith house where the car is almost packed, they're anxious to hear what the plan will mean for middle class families.

Schyler can't wait to make her parents proud over the next four years. Knowing they'll be making big financial changes at home so she can succeed at school.

"I'll leave them some ramen noodle packages!" she joked.

Obama is scheduled to speak at University at Buffalo in the morning before the visit at Henninger High School in Syracuse at 6 p.m. NewsChannel 13 will have live reports on the visit from Syracuse beginning Live at 5.