msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 4/16/2009 12:59:00 PM ET 2009-04-16T16:59:00

Throughout the campaign, Barack Obama made many promises to the American people. Msnbc.com has chosen 14 of these to explain, explore, and track. See if the new president keeps his word, and vote on his progress during the first 100 days.

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Obama’s words: “I think it's important for us to make college affordable. Right now, I meet young people all across the country who either have decided not to go to college or if they're going to college, they are taking on $20,000, $30,000, $50,000, $60,000 worth of debt…”

The issue: According to the College Board, the average tuition and fees for private four-year colleges and universities in 2008 and 2009 is $25,143, 5.9 percent higher than the previous year.

On the campaign trail, President Barack Obama recalled paying off his own mountain of student loan debt and promised struggling college students help.

He pledged a $4,000 tax credit to help pay tuition and fees in exchange for 100 hours of community service. "You get a hand living your dreams, and then you help your fellow citizens live theirs," said Obama.

Following through: An $787 billion Obama-endorsed stimulus package was signed by the president on Feb. 17.

Included in the legislation is $15.6 billion to boost the maximum Pell Grant by $500 to $5,350 and $14 billion to provide a $2,500 expanded tax credit for college tuition and related expenses for 2009 and 2010.

During his address to Congress in February, Obama called on all Americans to "commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training," and promised, "by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world."

The administration is also calling for sweeping changes to the decades-old approach of providing federal subsides to private loan companies.

Obama proposes that all the loans come directly from the government.

The White House argues that the change will save $94 billion that can be redirected to needy borrowers and help more people go to college.

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