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  • Will Reforms in Higher-Education Continue?
  • Posted By:
  • Karen W.
  • Posted On:
  • 23-Jan-2013
  • Our presidential elections 2012 did not bring up any significant ideas for higher education reform and turnaround. Mitt Romney inadvertently praised a Florida based for-profit college that charges students a whopping $20,000 a year for a video game design bachelor’s degree and talked about reinstating private-sector student lenders all over again with massive public subsidies.

    President Obama, on the other hand, continued to bask in past glory talking about past efforts to make student loans affordable and to increase Pell Grant funds. He did not however offer any significantly bold ideas that could transform our education.

    The agenda now focuses predominantly on the debt-ceiling crisis, immigration reform and gun control and once again higher education takes a back seat. Secure in his knowledge that his second term victory did prove a point; our President can easily set aside any potential higher education reforms. If he does think expansively on what higher education should be, he can certainly make a lasting impact.

    The first step should be to consolidate his achievements. Before Obama repealed the old subsidies to private banks, there is an accumulated outstanding loan of almost $400 billion. There is a chance for saving at least $34 billion bank subsidies if he could take certain smart moves such as giving incentives for old bank loan refinancing to new federal loans. This money can be used to bring about progress in other areas such as Pell Grants.

    Another factor our president must necessarily look into is the vulnerable “gainful employment” regulations of 2011. Measures are presently held up in court by the for-profit colleges backed lawsuit. This lawsuit has forced our administration to go all the way back through the tedious rule-writing process.

    Sadly, many great ideas go unnoticed and eventually die. Anticipating the rules, for-profit colleges admission policies are already tightened bringing down predatory marketing and reckless expansion. It is up to our administration to ensure that vulnerable students are not left unprotected again. It is time to wake up and work out a second-term plan.

    Another area to be looked into is the deplorable higher education policy in certain parts of our country. Recession has taught wrong lessons for our lawmakers. By slashing funding to the maximum, states have forced colleges and universities to make up with service cuts and tuition hikes. Wherever you look, you can only find defaulted loans, depleted savings, debased academic standards and diminished scholarships.

    Such conduct must be punished harshly by our government. Federal reward must be offered for enterprising states that focus on developing a strong future workforce by offering high quality education for its citizens. Colleges that lack in enterprise and are laid-back should suffer a lot of financial pain.

    Last but not the least; it is time for our president to understand the benefits and implications of higher education supported by the public. Seems like everything now depends on how much attention higher education is going to receive from the government. Will the reform process continue or will the situation only become worse? We will have to wait and see.


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