Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) Wednesday commended President Barack Obama's call to rein in college tuition costs, calling today's tuition rates "way too high."
In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama proposed denying federal aide to colleges and universities that do not keep tuition costs down to a reasonable level.
This is an idea Duncan first proposed in a newsletter to his constituents in July 2009.
In multiple speeches and newsletters, Duncan has been highly critical of the federal student loan program because it is the main cause of today's high tuition rates.
"I was very pleased to hear President Obama take on colleges and universities, which have been over charging students and taxpayers for decades," Duncan said. "When I tell college students today that during my first year at the University of Tennessee tuition was $90 a quarter, gasps go through the room. Students used to be able to work part time and pay their way through college, and it should still be that way today. Almost no one left college in debt in the1960's and early 1970's, but today almost everyone does."
"The only way to get college costs down is to reduce federal loans at colleges and universities that do not hold their increases to the rate of inflation or less," Duncan continued.
In a speech on the House floor in 2009, Congressman Duncan said:
"If I went to any college campus and told those students that the Federal Student Loan Program is one of the worst things that ever happened to them, they would stare at me probably in disbelief. And yet it really is one of the worst things that ever happened to them, because throughout our history, college tuition and fees went up very, very slowly, and went up at the rate of inflation or even less until that loan program came in. And now, ever since that program came in, today, tuition and fees are three or four or five-hundred percent higher than they would have been if we'd just left the thing totally alone.
"The only way to correct that now is to punish colleges and universities that continually raise their tuition and fees at three or four or five times the rate of inflation by saying that we're going to limit or cut off the loans at those universities and colleges that continually raise their tuition and fees above the rate of inflation."
Although President Obama did not offer specifics of his plan, Congressman Duncan remains encouraged.
"I am interested in hearing more details, and I hope this call can become a bipartisan effort backed by the entire Congress," Duncan said.