State of Union Address Gets Lukewarm Praise

The State of the Union Address glued few viewers to their television sets Tuesday night, but students reacted favorably the morning after to President Clinton's proposal for economic incentives designed to increase college enrollment.

Among the ten points in a plan he called "A Call to Action for American Education," Clinton suggested creating "America's HOPE" scholarships, named after a merit-based Georgia program that promotes post-secondary education at state institutions.

The national program suggested by Clinton would:

* Give two-year, $1,500 tax credits for use at junior colleges;

* Create a $10,000 tax deduction for all post-secondary education;


* Expand the concept of an I.R.A. to allow tax-free withdrawals for educational use; and

* Increase the amount of money allocated for Federal Pell Grants.

According to Clinton, this plan would "give every American who works hard the chance to go to college."

Although only 25 percent of the students contacted by The Crimson actually heard the address, most approved of Clinton's ideas.

"I had friends who got the HOPE scholarship [in Georgia] who needed to go to college and were able to because of it," said L. Andrew Cooper '99, who is from Georgia.

Jessica N. Hook '99 said she was disappointed by last year's federal reductions in scholarship funds.

"I'm very glad to see Clinton put forward educational programs," she said.

But while students favored the general idea of promoting college education, some expressed skepticism at Clinton's emphasis on junior college.

"Instead of just going to high school and then McDonalds, you'd go to high school, junior college and then McDonalds," said Nick W. Wickersham '99.

"The idea of subsidizing partial education is a partial idea," said a Quincy House sophomore who asked not to be identified.