Nevada students taking the ACT college entrance exam have a slight college readiness edge over the national average, the Associated Press reports. Whereas the national average score is 21.1, Nevada college entrants score on average 21.3. Affording a higher education is of great concern to voters in this presidential battleground state.
Reaching the College Audience in Reno and Las Vegas
President Barack Obama actively seeks out contact with college- and college-ready students in the Silver State. As noted by the New York Times, the president visited Reno's Truckee Meadows Community College campaign rally yesterday and spoke to a Las Vegas high school audience at Canyon Springs High School today.
Differentiating Democratic Policies from Republican Counterparts
The Obama campaign highlights that an enacted Republican budget would lead to severe cuts in education. Mr. Obama outlines that Mitt Romney's best advice to college-bound students is little more than asking parents for loans -- or finding the cheapest colleges to attend. Concurrently, the Obama campaign must take on the charge of the Romney campaign, which has painted college students as a "lost generation" heavily burdened by increasing tuition costs that the Obama administration has failed to curtail. Another talking point the Obama campaign must tackle is Nevada's high unemployment rate, which affects recent college graduates with high student loan debts.
Attacking Republican Talking Points on Education
The Obama campaign underscores Romney's image of being "out of touch with the financial needs of college students," the Reno Gazette Journal explains. While speaking to the Reno college crowd on Tuesday, the president used Romney's words -- to borrow money from parents -- to highlight that this suggestion was unrealistic in an economically challenged state, where parents frequently barely make ends meet. "Hearing Obama say he will help with the student loans, grants and just the financial aid gave me a new sense of hope," a student told reporters after the rally.
Resonating with Voter Concerns
Reception of the president's message on education has been positive at Nevada's campaign stops. "We have been talking about health care and other issues and education has been put on the side, so I loved the fact that it was his primary focus today," and adult in the audience explained.
Eliciting a Republican Response
The Romney campaign continues to point out that the cost of a higher education has mushroomed uncontrolled under the Obama administration. The campaign also faults the administration for creating an economic climate that makes it harder for new graduates to enter the job market. Romney, the campaign contends, will "encourage innovation and competition to make college more affordable, and his economic policies will give recent graduates the job opportunities they deserve."
Some Nevada Voters want more Details
Although the message of the Obama campaign was overall well received at the Reno and Las Vegas campaign stops, some Silver State voters want more details. Expressing this point of view is the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which asks pointedly if college students would do better with policy-driven tuition reductions and student loan increases, or if students would be better served by an administration that focuses on economic policies to benefit graduates.