In case you hadn’t noticed, there is an important election happening this fall in the United States. Obama vs. Romney is in full swing and both parties are spouting their views on and plans for higher education. If you are a college student, or will be one soon, the election affects you and your education in a big way!
President Obama and Mitt Romney differ primarily on the role that the private sector – individuals or private groups – should play when it comes to education. A recent Chicago Tribune article outlines Obama’s opposition to and Romney’s advocacy for the private sector playing a large role in funding college tuition.
Private Colleges do not receive money from their state. Their tuition is usually higher because they operate with private funding.
For-Profit Colleges operate more like businesses. The tuition students pay helps the school operate and stay in business. Many of these schools endorse Mitt Romney.
Public Universities receive funding from state and federal governments.
- The President has criticized the higher education industry of failing to deliver on its promises to students; graduates are often left with debt and a degree that fails to help them find rewarding and beneficial employment.
- On a recent college town tour, President Obama declared that a college education “isn’t a luxury, it is an economic necessity that every family should be able to afford.”
- Believes for-profit colleges spur good competition.
- Federal grants and loans are too easily available and actually increase tuition costs.
- Romney’s goal is to strengthen and simplify the current financial aid system by offering students choices instead of determining stiff regulations.
- In June 2012, the current administration froze interest rates on federal student loans, saving each student about $1,000 per year.
- He would create an American Opportunity Tax Credit for students. Under this credit, the first $4,000 of college education would be free for most Americans. Community Colleges would cost nothing for most students to attend. Two thirds (66%) of the average public college or university tuition would be covered by this credit. It is unspecified what is meant by average in this scenario.
- The President also promises to better the opportunities available for college students with disabilities.
- The financial aid application process would be reduced to a simple check mark on a family’s tax form.
- Romney would repeal the freeze on federal student loan interest rates, asserting the need for educational reform over frozen rates.
- His running mate, Paul Ryan, has proposed a budget plan that cuts domestic spending, which includes education. This would also cut the number of students eligible for Pell Grants.
- Federal aid would continue to support private and for-profit colleges, and private banks would take over the federal student loan program.
- Romney would attempt to repeal a law that requires for-profit colleges to receive some funding from students paying full tuition, and not just from federal student loans.
Whether you require financial aid or use federal funding for your higher education, being informed about this year’s Presidential election is incredibly important. Find out about the issues and how they affect you and your family. If you’re 18 or older, get registered and vote your voice this November!