America’s education system, from kindergarten up through college, is in need of fundamental reform. While much of the overhaul will rightly fall to state and local government, Washington has a role to play, especially when it comes to higher education and the federal programs that fund post-secondary education and the loan programs that assist students.
In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan beat inflation, except in two areas, health care and education, the two aspects of American life most directly funded by government. While Americans rightly lament the rise in gas prices over the past decade, the cost of a college education has risen even faster. This coincides with fewer recent college graduates able to find work in their field and more returning home to live with their parents.
Higher costs and fewer results has led to a bipartisan call for reform of higher education. In particular, there is a need for much greater transparency, so students and their parents can find out critical information like, what percentage of graduates in my major at my school find jobs after college? What is the average debt load after 4 years? How much am I likely to earn with the degree I’m receiving?
Choosing and paying for college is one of the most important decisions any family makes. Shouldn’t Washington make the entire process easier by simplifying aid forms, streamlining the loan process, and ending the accreditation cartel so that students and families have more options that are more affordable and fit their needs, budgets, and the economy? At CSP we think it is, and that it should be an important priority for Congress and the President.
Federal spending on education, no matter the level, must benefit students and parents, not the adults who work in education. The federal government must do all it can, within its proper, limited role to encourage more choice, more accountability, and more excellence in our nation’s schools.