PERRY Co., Ky. (WYMT) - President Obama spoke to students at the New York state university in Buffalo on Thursday.
The president's speech outlined an education plan aimed at reducing college costs.
The cost of education is "a barrier and a burden for too many American families," said President Obama.
Students at the Hazard Community and Technical College began classes on Monday, but almost everyone said they are already feeling the financial burdens.
Including incoming freshman Blake Jackson.
"Wow, debt. That's all I can say," said Jackson. "It's just a lot of money. I mean how am I suppose to pay that back? Let alone get it to start with."
Destany Mullins is another student dealing with financial burdens.
"It was hard for me not knowing if I would get financial aid or not to get my books," said Mullins.
President Obama said the average student graduating from college owes $26,000 or more.
Dr. Stephen Greiner said this number does not surprise him.
"We've seen a tendency over the last number of years for students to have increased debt as they're leaving college," Greiner said.
With congressional approval a new ratings system could measure how colleges are working to keep costs down.
"There is no question something has to be done to help students with affordability," Greiner said.
When it comes to debt many students said a plan to better control college affordability would be helpful.
"My family, my dad, you know he was a coal miner and he got hurt and we just haven't got financial aid yet," said Jackson.
The initiative may not be implemented until 2015, however Greiner said he is anxious to see the parameters of the aggressive plan.
The president's plan would require colleges to distribute financial aid throughout the semester, instead of one cumulative payment at the start.