Obama visits South Dakota

WASHINGTON – After seven years in office, President Obama is heading to South Dakota.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest tells us the President will meet one-on-one with students at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown.

“This is a community college that’s doing everything right,” Earnest said. “It’s a community college that has a graduation rate that’s twice the national average for a typical community college.”

The president also has a message. Earnest points out the community college has great statistics – with the help of the federal government.

“We know that about half of the students at the community college benefit from Pell Grants,” Earnest said. “The president has made a considerate effort to make sure the federal government is supporting Pell Grants.“

The White House also released a report that shows the amount of Federal Pell Grants available to South Dakota students has doubled in the past seven years, and the recipients have gone from 17,000 to 25,000 students.

Earnest said there’s also a tax break aiding the students: The American Opportunity Tax Credit.

“This is a tax credit that allows the average South Dakota family, with a college student in their household, to save $1,800 a year on their taxes,” Earnest said.

Like most commencement addresses, the White House tells us the president’s speech will be optimistic and talk about the future. When we asked what happens when the president checks South Dakota off his travel list, Earnest had this to say:

“I don’t know, maybe there’s a fireworks display involved!” Earnest said. “But look, the president’s looking forward to this opportunity.”

After making his way to south Dakota, Obama will be the fourth sitting president to visit all 50 states. He will join Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

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