The president is promoting his plan for a new government rating system for colleges that would judge institutions on their costs and quality. He's also calling on schools to innovate by offering students opportunities like online learning, and he wants more students to take advantage of a federal program that caps student loan repayments.
Freshman Alexis Piccirillo spent Friday putting the finishing touches on her room at the College at Brockport. She wants to go into nursing.
"It has a good nursing program and one of my mentors at the hospital I volunteered at went here, so that was a big influence."
There was also a little influence from Mom and Dad. Alexis' dad Tom was a student here in the 70s, and lived in the very same dorm Alexis is now settling into.
"It was wonderful. I had a great four years," said Tom.
And to continue the coincidences, it was in Alexis' new room where Tom met his wife Patti, Alexis' mother.
"I loved it. I was in the nursing program. It was a great experience," said Patti. "We still have a lot of friends we stay in touch with from Brockport,"
Despite all the legacy here, Tom and Patti said they didn't push Alexis to chose Brockport. They have other children in private schools, but they're happy with her decision in part because of the school's affordability.
"We're going to pay for it even if we go in debt. We let the children take some responsibility so they'll come away with $20,000 after four years, but we'll take the lion's share," explained Tom.
The College Board says tuition in most four year universities has gone up more than 250 percent over the last three decades. The income for most families only grew 16 percent.
"We have to be cognizant of the numbers. We have to be cognizant of the debt, but it makes me think about our financial aid policies- are we helping students to leverage every possible student aid package they can? What about jobs and internships and other things?" asked College at Brockport president John Halstead. "SUNY is a very, very good value."
While students and their parents say they are thinking about the cost of college, now that they're finally here, they're excited to get started.
"I met a lot of people today. I just want to have the best time," said Alexis.