Vice President Joe Biden will make an appearance in Jacksonville today, to discuss college affordability at a local high school.

Biden will be joined by Education Secretary Arne Duncan for a speech at Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach. In addition to speaking about the steps the Obama administration has taken to make college affordable, the vice president will likely call on colleges to do their part to control education costs.

Obama, who ran on a platform of college affordability, has said that the financial aid process needs to be simplified, and Pell Grants for low-income students should be expanded.

“We need to put a college education within reach of every American,” Obama said in a 2007 speech (.pdf). “That’s the best investment we can make in our future. I’ll create a new and fully refundable tax credit worth $4,000 for tuition and fees every year, which will cover two-thirds of the tuition at the average public college or university. I’ll also simplify the financial aid application process so that we don’t have a million students who aren’t applying for aid because it’s too difficult. I will start by eliminating the current student aid form altogether — we’ll use tax data instead.”

The average debt for Florida students is currently around $21,000 and, in Northeast Florida, parents and students continue to worry about rising tuition costs.

The Biden event is not open to the public.

Biden arrived on the First Coast this morning, to greet sailors at the Mayport Naval Station. The Mayport-based USS Gettysburg,which has been deployed with 275 sailors for the past six months, will end its tour today and return home.

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