As the presidential campaign continues, the role of student debt in the debate continues to grow, U.S. News and World Report wrote in early June. This is reflected in the release of Mitt Romney’s education plan, “A Chance for Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education.”
Romney’s plan argues that current college education is unaffordable, student loan default is too common, and many students expect their loan debt to be forgiven by various federal programs. US News states that these descriptions may verge into hyperbole, but there are kernels of truth there.
There is too much of an emphasis on getting a four year degree, and not enough on whether that degree will provide you with strong employment opportunities, the plan notes. Romney believes that the government should stress the need for more people to attain two year associate’s degrees, certifications and apprenticeships for many job areas, and to keep costs down.
Current education policy puts too much of an emphasis on providing access to college for everyone, and not enough on completing college with a degree that provides you with strong employment potential, US News quotes the Romney report.
The magazine states that a Romney presidency would have the federal government not reward schools that increase tuition, and would reward schools that keep tuition costs down. Also, Romney states that he would simplify the federal financial aid system, but it remains unclear exactly what this means.
Pell grants would be more limited to students who at most need, which US News seems to oppose. Also, Romney would engage in more ‘public-private partnerships’ to encourage students and families to make the most informed financial choices about college options.
Romney’s plan would try to cap loan payments to a maximum of 10% of the income of the borrower, which the Obama administration also supports.
On the negative side, the magazine notes, it seems that Romney would try to dismantle programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
In the end, the Romney vision seems to continue some of the Obama administration’s proposals, but would stress more public-private partnerships to accomplish goals, rather than rely strictly on the federal government. Also, Pell grants could be curtailed, as well as some forms of loan forgiveness, US News states.