Republicans seem constantly on the defensive when it comes to discussing rising costs associated with today’s college education. They could dramatically change that image, and improve their standing around campuses, by proposing positive, proactive, real life solutions in support of the many millions of students who are getting an incredibly lousy bang for their higher education bucks.
In spite of the fact there’s a dramatically decreased return on this huge investment, easy money loaned to eager undergraduates has allowed universities to raise tuitions to unprecedented levels. That destructive scenario has an enormous number of under informed young adults being handed both a devalued diploma and a bleak future. Crippling loan payments leave them fiscally paralyzed.
But as things currently stand, universities have no real financial incentive to make any substantive changes. Why? Because bad loans don’t concern the schools. They collect all their money “up front” and subsequently remain unaffected by any accounts going into default.
Given that climate, now would be a terrific time for Republicans to responsibly take up the cause of this group of college attendees, by proposing real solutions to their legitimate fiscal problems.
GOPers should begin calling for greater responsibility from our “institutions of higher learning”. Back it up by submitting specific legislation requiring colleges receiving federal money to enact policies designed to: 1) expose the risks of student loans 2) lower tuitions 3) vastly improve the graduates’ chances of getting a good job.
Here are some suggestions Republicans might find helpful.
First, call for transparency regarding the liabilities involved in borrowing money for college. Undergraduates must receive two things. One is their credit score. The second is a payout schedule showing the amount of interest to be collected, and monthly payouts made, on a fully amortized loan. Schools who accept dollars given to applicants whose FICO scores are under 600 will no longer be absolved from the consequences of those notes going bad. They will share the burden equally with the financial institutions originating the dough.
Second, insist all courses being taught by graduate students be provided without charge. Given the cost per credit, attendees should have at least a minimum expectation of receiving instruction from a professor. What’s the educational rationale behind having someone a couple years older than the coeds giving lectures? If universities don’t want to put highly paid PHD’s in front of classes, discount the courses they’re not teaching. If an anxious patient had an appointment to see a pricy healthcare specialist, and wound up being treated only by a medical assistant, they’d want most of their money back. A college student has the same right to get what he/she has paid for.
Third, put in place a requirement whereby every undergrad, when picking a major, be given the rate of full time employment, average time from graduation to a job, and median salary in their chosen field. Discussions must include the percentage of alumni from a specific program finding workplace successes directly traceable to that major. This would be done during mandated, fully documented meetings with department heads.
If undergraduates are not counseled in this manner, and within 6 months cannot find work in their field, the institution becomes liable for the refund of all monies related to courses taken in that discipline. It’s way past time to put an end to 19 and 20 year olds being steered to useless majors that benefit a specific school of study much more than the young adults striving for a financially successful, rewarding career.
Republicans should be bold and seize on the justifiable discontent felt on so many campuses. Replace Democrat pie-in-the-sky schemes with down-to-earth statutes offering relief from hugely inflated college costs. All the GOP has to do is put forward a long overdue plan that makes previously unaccountable colleges, pushing dopey degrees and dumb policies, financially accountable to their student populations.
Republicans should go for it.