Obama has an interesting plan for making college affordable again
The third bit is the most interesting: Only giving loans for good schools and not for scammy schools.
Second, he wants to encourage more innovation in the higher education space. This all relates to a lot of what's been in the media about MOOCs and technology and so forth. The most concrete proposal is that he wants to create a $260 million First In The World Fund to pay for higher education innovation and also to direct some of the Department of Labor's existing stream of community college grants to this kind of purpose. Arguably more importantly, the White House says they're going to try to provide some regulatory flexibility and relief to institutions that want to try to innovate. Obviously one man's regulatory flexibility is another man's gutting of oversight so we'll have to see what this amounts to in practice.
The third part, though, is the most important even though it almost certainly won't bear meaningful fruit before Obama leaves office. I have a whole column about the administration's underlying vision of what's wrong with higher education, and this is their proposal to fix it. They want to put together a rating system for American colleges that will be based on the quality of the instruction and the value proposition rather than a US News-style rating of the inputs. Then the vision is that down the road this rating system could become a guide for federal money.