Campaign Promises

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College EducationGrade
The Promise: "...will make college affordable for all Americans by creating a new American Opportunity Tax Credit."
When/Where: Obama's Plan for America: "The Blueprint for Change" dated 07/29/08
Status:The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, signed into law 02/17/09, approved the new American Opportunity Tax Credit for two years up to $2,500 (it was $1,800 prior to the stimulus bill). Passage of the ARRA trumped the American Opportunity Tax Credit Act of 2009 (H.R. 106) introduced on 01/05/09 by Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), a bill that expired without action at the end of the 111th Congress. That bill would have increased the refundable tax credit for higher education expenses to $4,000.

The American Opportunity Tax Credit was further extended for CY2011 and CY2012 on 12/17/10 when President Obama signed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853).

On 01/02/13, President Obama signed the "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012" (H.R. 8) into law. This bill extended the American Opportunity Tax Credit by five years through the end of CY2017.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314) was signed into law by President Obama on 11/02/15, making the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will create a national "Make College a Reality" initiative that has a bold goal to increase students taking AP or college-level classes nationwide 50 percent by 2016..."
When/Where: Obama and Biden's Plan for America: "Blueprint for Change," dated 10/09/08.
Status:When variants of this promise were made during the CY2007-08 school year, 1,580,821 students out of a total high school enrollment of 14.9M students had taken Advanced Placement (AP) courses and exams. During the CY2014-15 school year, 2,483,452 out of a total high school enrollment of 15.0M students (less than a 1% increase) took AP courses/exams according to The College Board, exceeding the 50% goal.

This promise is not to be confused with the President's "2020 North Star Initiative" or First Lady Michelle Obama's "Reach Higher Initiative" to promote college attendance and completion as well as other initiatives to ensure college affordability. Rather, this promise was specifically to create a national "Make College a Reality" initiative applicable to high school students.

While the goal to increase AP/college-level class participation by 50% was reached on its own steam, the promised initiative/program did not come to fruition during President Obama's two terms in office.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "Some states have developed an Early Assessment Program that enables 11th graders and their families to ascertain if they are on track to be college ready by the time they graduate...will provide $25 million annually in matching funds for states to develop Early Assessment Programs."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Making College Affordable for Everyone" dated 09/11/08.
Status:There is no evidence that the Obama Administration requested matching funds for state-level "Early Assessment Programs" (EAP), during President Obama's two terms in office.

Some states such as California already had excellent EAP's in place prior to President Obama's first term.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will support university programs that partner NASA, DOT, DOD and NOAA with academia to provide hands-on training experiences at the college level."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Advancing the Frontiers of Space Exploration" dated 08/15/08.
Status:The guiding principles that govern interactions between the Federal Government and universities that perform research are outlined by Executive Order 13185 signed by President Bill Clinton on 12/28/00. This was not an Obama Administration initiative.

(1) NASA has strategic partnerships with numerous universities such as the Universities of Arizona, Michigan, Southern California, California Santa Cruz, UCLA, MIT, Dartmouth College, Carnegie Mellon, Princeton, and others.

(2) The Department of Transporation (DOT) has a healthy research partnership with Ohio State University and with Cornell University to increase public involvement in the rulemaking process driven by a proposed rule to ban texting for truck and bus drivers and to reduce other risks posed by distracted driving. As a result, the DOT announced a new rule in 01/10 against texting and driving.

(3) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) has established partnerships with the University of Mississippi for the Sea Grant Law Center, with the University of Southern California and Texas A&M for ports and harbors research, the University of Connecticut for geospatial research, the University of Rhode Island to foster a global capacity for sustainable resource use, and others.

(4) The Department of Defense, not only through its Defense Acquisition University, has significant partnerships with academia such as funding a unique corrosion engineering degree program at the University of Akron, Ohio State, and the Universities of Virginia, Hawaii and Southern Mississippi. Partnering with the DoD, the University of Michigan combats the stigma associated with seeking care for psychological health, traumatic brain injury among veterans and athletes. External/university research efforts and partnerships can also be funded by the Air Force Office of Sponsored Research (AFOSR), Office of Naval Research (ONR), Army Research Office (ARO), Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Army Corps of Engineers, National Security Agency (NSA), and others.

Funding for these partnership programs was routinely included in President Obama's budget proposals.

This promise was fulfilled.