Florida Republican Senator and potential future presidential candidate Marco Rubio has called for a vast overhaul of the nation’s higher education system. The College Board reports that the current cost for tuition and fees at four-year public colleges has been 27% higher than the overall inflation rate for the past five years; college tuition is now at about $18,390 for room, board and tuition.
Rubio’s aim is to try and close the “opportunity gap” that exists between American citizens with a college degree, and those without. Here are 12 reasons why his overhaul plan will work:
12. Widespread Benefits
The plan will even the playing field so that everyone in America has a fair chance at a good-paying job – not just the college-educated.
11. A More Realistic Approach
Rubio’s plan is a far more viable and realistic alternative to the President’s agenda for addressing higher education issues and bolstering the middle class.
10. A Variety of Choices
The reforms would include quality, state-accredited schooling alternatives to traditional four-year colleges. These alternatives would include a variety of viable, affordable options including several private-sector solutions.
9. Free, Flexible Online Courses
New standards would be enacted for accrediting free Internet courses. These online courses would be evaluated and overseen by an independent accrediting board so that online college credit could be transferable to traditional schools.
8. Credit Out in the Field
Workers who are already in the work force will also benefit by being able to use their skills to earn certification and degrees by passing standardized tests, bypassing the need to attend a traditional institution.
7. More Accessible
The plan embodies a more accessible, down to earth approach than other Republicans like Mitt Romney have proposed in the past.
6. A Reduction in Student Debt
The plan will help reduce the current average of 70% of all college students having an average of $29,400 in student loan debt at graduation day.
5. Flexible Loan Repayment Terms
The plan includes flexible, income-based terms for the repayment of college loans. This income-based loan repayment would be mandatory at a rate commensurate with what each student can afford.
4. Student Investment Plans
The plan would also offer more lenient “student investment plans,” whereby private investment firms would cover college tuition costs. Costs would then be repaid after college as a fixed percentage of the graduate’s future income for a set number of years; the set time period would end the loan, regardless of whether or not the total debt had been paid.
3. A Simpler Way to Get a Loan
The plan would make strides in simplifying the complex federal aid process so that more students would have easier access to federal funds.
2. Getting with the Times
Rubio’s plan will effectively update an old, stagnant higher education system and create one that is more conducive to the modern economic era.
1. A Restoration of the American Dream
The plan would usher in the hope of restoring the trend toward upward mobility — the American dream that makes America so great.