Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Presidential Candidates' Positions on Higher Education

Let me begin by offering this disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the John Edwards for President Campaign nor do I endorse Edwards for President. I am putting this upfront because over the next few months I would like to explore the positions of the major candidates for president regarding higher education. The issue of education is of the utmost importance for the United States in the 21st century.

Wehave seen that many of the things that candidates say before they are elected is often disconnected from what actually happens after they are elected. However, we can use their public position statements as indicators to what may happen in the future.

As part of the 2008 campaign, John Edwards has announced his College Opportunity Agenda. Details about the agenda can be found on Edwards's website. I would just like to take a second to summarize.

Edwards hopes to make college more affordable for everyone. His "College for Everyone" initiative would pay for one year of college tuition, fees, and books for any student who is willing to work hard and stay out of trouble. The initiative is based on the College for Everyone initiative in Greene County, North Carolina. Edwards first discussed the idea in his 2004 campaign. Edwards is also proposed a number of other initiatives to help students prepare for college. These include: simplifying the application process for student aid, and the assigning of counselors to help students choose the correct track further college experience; and, require all students to borrow directly from the Department of Education, which would eliminate bank subsidies on student loans and free up almost $6 billion a year to make college more affordable.

"The chance to go to college meant everything in my life, and I want every young person to have the same chance," said Edwards. "Unfortunately, for too many families, this chance is out of reach. College for Everyone will open the door to a higher education for millions of young people, so they have the opportunity to realize the American Dream. Every young person who is willing to work hard should have the chance to get an education and get ahead."

Details about the plan are available as a fact sheet on Edwards's website.

Additional items:

College for Everyone in the USA (News & Observer, NC)
Higher Ed and 2008 (Inside Higher Ed)

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