As the first Republican presidential primary debate looms, I have decided to take a break from our regularly-scheduled programming and take a look at what some of these candidates are interested in doing as regards higher education. Of course, specific policies have not really been hashed out this early in the game, but there are still some interesting tidbits of information to chew on for those concerned with how the future Republican candidate might view the US’ university system.
I have also included some candidate’s opinions on grant-funding institutions, such as Department of Ed and NSF, and how they view climate change, which might affect funds from the EPA. The odds are pretty good that you will not hear higher education as a main focus of the debate, but here’s hoping! At any rate, the below may give you some idea on where candidates stand.
If agree or disagree with any of these points, leave a comment below! Tell me what issues in higher education you are hoping the candidates address, either tonight or some time down the road.
In no particular order. Click on the link to see the source. Enjoy!
- Students take too long to graduate: “On campus these days, [Bush] said, students have “the French work week. It’s not the kids’ fault.” He said that administrators were to blame for considering 12 credits a full course load.” (Source: Inside Higher Ed)
- Greater accountability is needed: “Bush has also spoken in favor of stricter outcome measures for colleges—and tying federal loan money to those measures. At a speech in South Carolina in March, Bush said universities could do more to retain students and prepare them for the workforce.” (Source: Education Advisory Board)
- Consumer-driven model of education: Bush predicts a move from “a provider-driven model to a consumer-driven one” and a subsequent upending of “a system that had endured for centuries.” This new higher education model is to include online degree programs with an international student body, keeping costs low by limiting the needs for physical space. (Source: Huffington Post)
- Donald Trump, Businessman and CEO
- No more Department of Education: He would do away with the Department of Education and let local and state governments run their schools as they see fit—this would also encourage competition and people would move to the best school districts, growing the economy while providing better education. (Source: Trump on the Issues)
- Cost of higher ed: “I know all about the student loan stuff,” he said. “I’ve been asked that question so many times by so many great young people that are up to here with debt. They don’t know what to do. And I tell them, you’ve got to get jobs.” (Source: The Des Moines Register)
- Department of Education: “During his 2012 Senate campaign, said he wanted to dissolve the Department of Education and instead give student financial aid money directly to state governments, which could then dole out the funds.” (Source: Education Advisory Board)
- Climate Change: Does not believe in climate change. (Source: Education Advisory Board)
- Department of Education: Supports eliminating the Department of Education. (Source: Education Advisory Board) “That 100 billion gets rolled around in a big bureaucracy up there,” Paul said. “They send rules down that don’t help education, they hinder innovation. I would cut them out of the loop. I don’t think you’d notice if the whole department were gone tomorrow.” (Source: Red and Black)
- Critical of NSF: Has called out the National Science Foundation for what he considers wasteful spending, but says he is not attacking science—but rather ensuring tax money is used well. (Source: Education Advisory Board)
- Making college affordable: Has supported bipartisan bills to create online college-savings accounts that would track students’ savings and academic progress from elementary schools through college. Introduced legislation for income-share agreements in place of normal loans. (Source: Education Advisory Board)
- Climate change: Last May he told a TV interviewer that he did not believe human activity was causing climate change and that any laws aimed at avoiding the phenomenon would “destroy our economy.” (Source: Chronicle of Higher Education)
- Competency-based courses: Quote: “it’s not just about spending more money on these programs; it’s also about strengthening and modernizing them.” (Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education)
- Higher education spending: Mr. Walker’s budget, which must be approved by the Republican-controlled Legislature, calls for a 13 percent cut in state aid across the university system, with its 13 four-year universities and 180,000 students, for a total decrease of $300 million over the next two years. (Source: NY Times)
- Purpose of higher education: In that draft of the governor’s budget, gone from state code was the commandment that the university “search for truth.” Gone was the exhortation to “improve the human condition.” Gone was the charge to “extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campuses.”Instead, Walker, a Republican, inserted a new benediction: “meet the state’s workforce needs.” (Source: Inside Higher Education)
- Making college affordable: He is in favor of: Increasing higher education grants targeting high-demand fields for students who pledge to stay in Wisconsin, and encouraging those who have left to return here. (Source: Wisconsin State Journal)
- Higher Education spending and development: Gov. Chris Christie’s critics in higher education — both at the schools and in the Legislature — are right to point out that he’s made serious funding cuts to programs, departments, and colleges and universities. In the process, he’s also pushed more of the costs of education onto students and their families…But what’s lost in this assessment is that Christie has also presided over sweeping changes to New Jersey’s colleges and universities…[which] are now bearing fruit.” (Source: NJ Spotlight)
- Free higher ed isn’t the answer: Quote: “It’s not about just making higher education free. That is a typical liberal approach. It is wrong. And we know it. There are always costs involved, and if college graduates are going to reap the greater economic rewards and opportunities of earning a degree, then it seems fair for them to support the cost of the education they’re receiving. Earning a degree should actually involve earning it.” (Source: Inside Higher Ed)
- Efficiency in higher ed: Quote: “America needs to encourage universities to run more efficiently—and to introduce greater transparency, accountability and competition into our higher education system. This is about empowering consumers. People will vote with their feet by deciding which colleges to attend, based on whether they’re using money wisely.” (Source: Ed Excellence)
- Against free higher ed: Quote: “Pell grants already exist to pay for community college expenses for needy students. For those who are not needy, there is an old-fashioned remedy that is very effective called work. In fact work might even be beneficial for those who are needy.” (Source: Washington Times)
- Political Bias: Quote: ““I think the Department of Education should monitor institutions of higher education for political bias and withhold federal funding if it exists.” (Source: BuzzFeed News)
- Department of Education: Quote: “There is no constitutional authority to dictate education from the federal government. Why even have a federal Department of Education?” (Source: Forbes)
- Purpose of higher education: Quote: “For too many, college is where students discover mountains of debt — but not a lifelong career. We must tackle the establishment and reform our colleges and universities so they make sense for the jobs of tomorrow.” (Source: Forbes)
- Record on higher ed spending: “Even when he disagreed with the Arkansas General Assembly, he tended to support increasing public funds for higher education…Huckabee also expanded the Governor’s Distinguished Scholarship — which awards $10,000 to students with top ACT and SAT scores — to private institutions, arguing (not without opposition) that it would keep more students in Arkansas.” (Source: Inside Higher Ed)
- Funding for higher ed: Quote: “I reserve the right … to say that within the course of the next year, if they do not enact these changes [lower tuition, cost-cutting measures] … I think you just start cutting funding and tell them to deal with it.” (Source: Columbus Dispatch) (He went on to say that this would not be the best way to go about making change, but it’s an option)
- Plan for education in Ohio: Quote: “We got our colleges and universities to work together and write a single, unified plan for new buildings and construction, and create a new funding system so they’re focused on helping students graduate, not just competing against each other to sign up as many as possible.” (Source: Forbes)
- Universities need to innovate more: Quote: “One of the big problems that we have in the Midwest when it comes to innovating . . . is the Midwest for whatever reason gets extremely comfortable with the status quo. Change is not something that they get real excited about. And it’s reflected in our university structures,” (Source: The Academe Blog)