CNN Fact Check: Obama's student aid boast on the mark
October 17, 2012 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
- Obama pushed to eliminate subsidized student loans
- Much of the money went into Pell Grants
- That program has grown from $19 billion to about $36 billion
(CNN) -- During Tuesday night's debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama touted his administration's support for the federal Pell Grant program and other aid for college students.
"We've expanded Pell Grants for millions of people, including millions of young women, all across the country," Obama said. "We did it by taking $60 billion that was going to banks and lenders as middlemen for the student loan program, and we said, 'Let's just cut out the middleman. Let's give the money directly to students.' And as a consequence, we've seen millions of young people be able to afford college, and that's going to make sure that young women are going to be able to compete in that marketplace."
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and U.S. President Barack Obama shake hands following the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on Tuesday, October 16, moderated by CNN's Candy Crowley. See the best photos of the first presidential debate.
The second presidential debate
Obama, Romney spar over issues
Zingers from second presidential debate
Ohio Focus Group on low points of debate
CNN's Candy Crowley on moderating debate
That's a big claim in a time of tight budgets, so CNN decided to take a closer look.
Fact Check: Romney, women and jobs
In 2009 and 2010, the Obama administration pushed to eliminate the federal guaranteed student loan program, which subsidized student loans issued through private lenders. The administration argued that the money that went to banks through the program would be better spent on direct federal loans to students or to Pell Grants, which provide students up to $5,600.
A Democratic-led Congress approved the plan in March 2010 as part of the same budget bill that cemented Obama's signature health care legislation. It faced heavy opposition from Republicans, who criticized it as a "government takeover" of the student loan industry. But Rep. George Miller, the California Democrat who led the House committee that oversaw education, argued it ended a "sweetheart deal" for banks.
During the debate, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the legislation would save the government up to $62 billion through 2020.
Fact Check: Candidates positions on contraception?
Much of that money has gone to the Pell Grant program, which has grown from about $19 billion in 2009 to a requested $36 billion for 2013. About 10 million students are expected to receive Pell Grants next year, up from about 6 million in the 2008-09 academic year, according to the Department of Education.
However, observers of the higher education sector note that the grants aren't keeping up with inflated tuition. The grants now cover less than a third of the average cost of attending a four-year public college, according to the Institute for College Access & Success, a nonprofit research group.
Obama's comments accurately summarize the recent history of the federal student aid programs under his administration, which have gone up -- just not as fast as college costs.
Complete coverage of CNN's Fact Checks
CNN's Caleb Hellerman and Matt Smith contributed to this report.
Part of complete coverage on
October 23, 2012 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
Although it has been over for nearly a year now, the war in Iraq continued to be a flash point in the final debate.
October 23, 2012 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
President Barack Obama made the case that al Qaeda in Pakistan is decimated while Mitt Romney argued they are on the rise in other countries.
October 23, 2012 -- Updated 1322 GMT (2122 HKT)
President Barack Obama accused Mitt Romney of initially being against a withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan in 2014.
October 23, 2012 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
The contention that President Obama apologized to other nations for American behavior has been mentioned repeatedly by his critics, including Mitt Romney.
October 23, 2012 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
President Barack Obama asserted that it cost the United States less to help oust Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi than it did to run two weeks of the 2003-2011 war in Iraq.
October 23, 2012 -- Updated 2158 GMT (0558 HKT)
President Barack Obama said Gov. Mitt Romney had criticized his administration for being too tough against China, and bringing a protectionist case at the World Trade Organization.
October 20, 2012 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
Conservative critics launched an attack on moderator Candy Crowley after she corrected Romney's claim that Obama did not refer to the consulate attack in Benghazi as an "act of terror."
October 17, 2012 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Romney highlighted the number of women in the unemployment lines during President Barack Obama's term.
October 17, 2012 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
Obama said he identified the September 11 assault on the U.S. Consulate in Libya as a terrorist attack within a day; Romney said it took two weeks.
October 17, 2012 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
Obama touted his administration's support for the federal Pell Grant program and other aid for college students.
October 17, 2012 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Obama boasted that the Affordable Care Act gives insured women free contraception coverage, and said Romney thinks employers should decide whether women can get contraception through insurance.
October 12, 2012 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
Fears of a possibly nuclear-armed Iran took center stage early in the vice presidential debate between Biden and Ryan.
October 12, 2012 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
The September attack that killed four Americans at a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya was the subject of a few claims at the VP debate.
October 12, 2012 -- Updated 1220 GMT (2020 HKT)
Federal support for wind power and electric cars was one of the early flashpoints between Biden and Ryan.
October 12, 2012 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
The Affordable Care Act emerged as an issue between Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
Today's five most popular stories