Thanks, Obama!

If you're reading this, you probably already have college admissions on your mind. But now it's official! By a Presidential Proclamation, November 2016 is now National College Application Month.

President Obama says quite a bit more than "good luck!" The proclamation is primarily a way for him to advertise a few government programs:

The president first mentions The Department of Education's College Scorecard. The Scorecard is a multi-layered platform that helps students learn more about colleges and financial aid. It's got a lot, including a pretty good search tool on the front page. I'd recommend using the College Scorecard along with the College Board's Big Future tools to get a more complete picture of colleges as you're searching.

He also mentions First Lady Obama's Reach Higher Initiative, which has links to a number of useful tools--including the College Scorecard--and a big pool of inspirational and aspirational materials to encourage more students of all types and ages to earn a college degree.

The Fair Chance Higher Education Pledge, also touted in the proclamation, is a White House initiative to encourage colleges and employers to rethink their avoidance of people with a criminal record. It's aimed not at students but at institutions and businesses.

President Obama reminds us that the FAFSA is now available, and was available three months earlier this year to help students get an earlier start on the financial aid process. Don't wait until you've applied to college--get started talking about money right now.

Before getting to the official, "by virtue of the authority vested in me" stuff,  he also reminds us of a proposal to make community college free "for students with the drive and discipline to work for it." Personally, I'd be very surprised to see this happen, but it's a proposal that's been repeated a number of times int his election season.

The next National College Application Month proclamation will have to come from someone other than Obama. If you're old enough and registered, please vote November 8.