One of the foremost topics in President Obama's 2012 State of the Union speech was the need to make higher education more affordable and accessible, by keeping tuition costs down, increasing student aid and retaining immigrant students.
"Higher education can’t be a luxury – it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford," he said.
He echoed this sentiment during a speech at the University of Michigan on Friday, saying “Congress needs to do more. They need to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling this July. That's what’s scheduled to happen if Congress doesn't act. That would not be good for [students]."
On the other end of the political spectrum, GOP candidates have remained relatively quiet about their views on higher education.
So what do the GOP candidates have to say about the future of American higher education? Check out the list below: (NOTE: all sources linked)
- Ron Paul (Gettysburg College B.S., Duke University M.D.) Paul wants to "fix" student loans (potentially by eliminating them), saying these government programs have driven up tuition rates. His rationale is the 1 trillion dollars in debt that are now tied up in student loans. He also proposed cutting the Department of Education.
- Rick Santorum (Pennsylvania State University B.A., University of Pittsburgh M.B.A., Dickinson School of Law J.D.) Santorum proposed an overhaul to the higher education system during the Iowa primaries, saying that colleges and universities have become "an indoctrination centers for the left". More recently, in a speech at a church he asserted that this indoctrination was a way for the left to maintain power, and that 62 percent of college students lose their faith when they go to college.
- Newt Gingrich (Emory University B.A., Tulane University M.A./PhD) Gingrich, a former history professor, has proposed opening a "work college" in every state, where students would work while getting their degree, ensuring they would graduate debt-free. In addition, he has mentioned a possible return to bank-based loans and scholarships for students who graduate high school early. He also supports the DREAM Act, but only for immigrants going into the military-- not college. UPDATE: The Washington Post reported in a recent speech Gingrich said that college students are "coddled" with "luxury dorms and lavish extras".
- Mitt Romney (Brigham Young University B.A., Harvard University M.B.A./J.D.) Gov. Romney believes that for-profit colleges will "bring innovation and healthy competition to higher education", however the university he touted as an example has donated to his campaign. Just like Gingrich, he also supports the DREAM Act, but only for immigrants going into the military-- not college.
If there is something I have missed for any of these candidates, please comment below.
What are your thoughts on the GOP candidates views on higher education? Do you think higher education can be saved by for-profit colleges or cutting federal loans? Do you agree that universities create left-wing students? Let us know! Comment below, or talk to us on Facebook/Twitter. (Photo Credit: Flickr/DonkeyHotey)