US President Barack Obama said Saturday higher education is \"an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.\" In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president spoke about stops he made this week to promote his proposals for \"a better bargain for the middle class.\" The tour included visits with high school and college students in New York and Pennsylvania to discuss higher education. \"But at a moment when a higher education has never been more important, it\'s also never been more expensive,\" he said. \"That\'s why, over the past four years, we\'ve helped make college more affordable for millions of students and families with grants and loans that go farther from before.\" Obama said the nation can\'t \"price the middle class out of a college education,\" and \"students and families and taxpayers cannot just keep subsidizing college costs that keep going up and up.\" As he did during the week, the president said his plan has three parts -- rating colleges based on how they help students succeed; promoting competition among colleges to develop innovative approaches to help students graduate \"in less time, at less cost, while maintaining quality\"; and helping students manage school loan debt with a repayment program pegging payments to a percentage of their post-school income. \"These reforms won\'t be popular with everybody,\" he said. \"But the path we\'re on now is unsustainable for our students and our economy. \"Higher education shouldn\'t be a luxury, or a roll of the dice; it\'s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.\"