Make college affordability about accountability

By Diana Carew June is fast turning into college affordability month on Capitol Hill. A fresh crop of college graduates, a final push for midterm election talking points, and the impending retirement of HELP Committee Chairman Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) have all raised the profile of student debt. But while promoting opportunity is essential, we can do more to address affordability by focusing on accountability — for schools and for students. It is undeniable that rising student debt burdens are imposing a tremendous strain on young Americans. Though 70 percent of borrowers have outstanding loans of less than $25,000, all are struggling under the weight of a slow-growth economy. Yet forgiving all of the student loans and interest payments in the world still doesn’t address why the postsecondary education system has become so unaffordable. Neither will blindly throwing more money into Pell Grants, a program with unknown effectiveness. Instead, the best way to address affordability is through accountability. Such policies would approach this by enabling more alternative pathways into the workforce, in a way that promotes competition to the four-year model. If done right, underperforming schools will shape up or ship out, and young borrowers would have the flexibility to choose the best postsecondary platform for them. “Finally, someone is presenting ideas worth discussing!” Read the full article here: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/education/207993-make-college-affordability-about-accountability

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