Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm


Presidential Candidates Take On College Affordability

As the national student debt plan continues to rise above $1.2 trillion, according to The Washington Post, many young voters have turned to the Presidential Candidates for the best solution when coming into office in 2016.

A couple of the candidates, such as Jeb Bush and Ben Carson, have said that tuition prices have doubled under President Obama’s two terms. Tuition prices have gone up 86 percent since he took office.

However, after the 2008 recession and the high amount of job loss, more and more students enrolled into college to ensure work. And with the rise of enrollment, comes the rise in tuition prices, according to Donald Heller, the Dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University.

Former Governor Jeb Bush wants to see students use for-profit and online schools be used more. He also wants more responsibility from the schools to ensure that students graduate in four years, and not see them as money suppliers.

When asked about this in an interview on C-SPAN, he said, “If kids can’t graduate with a four year degree in four years, there ought to be some pay back to them or their family. Or have some support for the loans they have taken out. We have to make sure a four year degree can be done in four years.”

Former Hewlitt- Packard CEO Carly Fiorina also believes that if the technology is available, online classes would help the debt situation. She wants the idea of government involvement to be non-existent to help college affordability.

When asked she said in a speech, “I would return the free market to the student loan industry. Secondly, I would enable as much choice and competition in higher education as possible. For-profit university do a very good job of educating a lot of people at a lower cost.”

Many have turned to see what Former U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has in plan for college affordability, since she has years of political experience. Her plan would not make college completely free for student, like her opponent Bernie Sanders plan, but would highly rely on federal state partnership. And for students who choice to stay in-state, they will not have to borrow loan money for in state college.

Clinton also believes that the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA), a form used to determine the amount of money a family is expected to contribute to the price of attending a postsecondary institution, has become more complicated to fill out. She believes that this discourages families with low income to not apply.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has proposed time and time again to eliminate four year public school and university tuition. The federal government would pay for two thirds of cost funded by a tax imposed on investment houses, hedge funds and other while states would pay for the rest.

Many have stated that this would affect the appeal of private institutions. Professor of Latin American Literature, Priscilla Gac-Artigas, said, in her blog, “The Electoral Process and The Future of Higher Education in the U.S.”, “Public universities will have to confront the challenge of adapting and expanding to continue providing a quality education to a growing student population. They have to find and secure the means to meet enormous demand in order to maintain a diverse student body. With existing space constraints, public universities run the risk of over-representing high-performers from wealthy school districts who would have otherwise attended private institutions.”

Associate Professor of Economics, Finance and Real Estate, Dr. Robert Scott, believes there will always be a place for private colleges. “Even when state schools were effectively free, private schools still existed. They had large numbers of full-time quality faculty members and good facilities, except tuitions weren’t nearly as high as they are today.”

He continues, “Strangely, at a time when tuitions are rising rapidly there are far fewer full-time faculty members than there were 30+ years ago. When college was much cheaper, the number of full-time faculty members was around 75% of all professors. Today costs are sky high and yet full-time faculty members make up less than one-third of professors. I would like to see all the presidential candidates explore this issue and help raise academic standards while also lowering costs—reversing the trend seen in the last 30 years.”

University President, Dr. Paul Brown, said, “A multitude of factors are putting higher education at a critical crossroads, and how the university chooses to harness our collective resources, acumen, and foresight to move ahead will be a defining moment. With change inescapably before us, we must articulate a new vision for Monmouth and create nothing short of a transformative learning experience for Monmouth students.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee view on the problem of college affordability have been rather different than those of the other members of his party. He has supported the senate bill introduced by Elizabeth Warren and has supported to hold down student loan rates. He has redirected federal funds to community college for career education and work training.

For his plan in office, he supports allowing borrowers to refinance their student loans at lower interest rates.

Governor John Kasich has had a lot of experience with getting plans accomplished when it comes to college affordability in Ohio. He has created a task force to review and recommend ways in which state-sponsored institutions of higher education can be more efficient, offering an education equal or higher quality while at the same time decreasing their cost.

Schools in Ohio now have performance based funding, where the state would fund schools depending on college outcomes rather than enrollment. Also, college credits have become available for middle school and high school students.

Governor Chris Christie has also done a lot for his state. He reduced Rutgers Board of Trustee from 54 to 41. He has signed a bill establishing a college affordability study commission and he also signed New Jersey’s version of the DREAM Act, to allow immigrant students to pay in-state tuition.

Dr. Ben Carson has not released an official plan for college affordability, but he has made it clear that he does not want to make it any easier. He has dismissed Obama’s proposal to offer two years of community college in the past. He believes that Pell grants are already assisting the poorest of people, and that “there is a four letter word that works extremely well, and it’s called work.” 

Carson has also stated that people should work and save up before going to school. In 2014, he said, “Many people get into financial strife because they don’t understand the importance of work. There’s nothing wrong with working a few years before going to school.”

He continued, “How did we get into a big problem there? Somehow, people forgot that you don’t buy a house that costs more the two and a half times your annual salary. People have to use their brains. That’s why God gave you a brain, so you could understand what you can and cannot afford.”

U.S Senator Rand Paul has pledge to eliminate the Department of Education but wants to retain Pell grants. He also want to tie student debt to work, by making it deductible over the student’s entire working career. Many have doubted this would actually benefit everyone, and only benefit the wealthy.

About the issue, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has said, “If you’re  young person right now, you come out of school, you got student loans up to your eyeballs. You’re struggling and you don’t know if you’re going to get a job.”

However, he has not talked a lot about how to solve this college affordability problem, and has been known more for trying to defund Obamacare. A bill he tried to stop in Congress would have in addition to funding Obama care, would have also expanded Pell Grants, adopted direct federal lending and the lowering of monthly student debt payments.

Dr. Saliba Sarsar, professor of political science, said “I look forward to the day when we can rethink our principles and reprioritize our national, state, and local goals and budgets so as to fund education K-College in support of teacher preparation and training, curriculum development, student tuition, and teacher salaries.  We must make education possible for all students who are serious about learning and contributing to their society as well as properly compensate and honor those who make education their calling, thus contributing to excellence and to building a brighter future for all.”

Natorye Miller, a junior Communication major, said “I feel as if Hillary has a better outlook on the issues, especially when it comes to FAFSA. For example, since she wants to make it easier to fill out, more people will be willing to apply. And also it would make it easier for those who make that one dollar over, to gain the benefits that they need to go to school.”

Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151