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  • Privatization of American Public Education
  • Posted By:
  • Karen W.
  • Posted On:
  • 12-Feb-2014
  • There is no disputing the fact that our public higher is no longer securely intact. Tuition prices are very high fuelled by state budget cuts and our country today faces severe issue of affordability in terms of higher education in spite of substantial investment by the Federal government.

    Students attending public universities and public colleges in our country are unable to benefit from maximum affordability as the government investment is not maximized in terms of productivity. Student debt as a consequence is on the rise.

    Need of the hour is to ensure that existing federal dollars are leveraged to the maximum and states are motivated to invest more in their public universities and colleges. This strategy, though certainly underutilized, has been adopted may times earlier.

    Recently federal government, through its “maintenance of effort” provision in relation to spending bills, specify that a certain threshold of funding levels for public higher education institutions must be maintained by the states in order to be eligible for federal funds.

    According to AASCU or American Association of State Colleges and Universities analysis, the federal stimulus legislation, through this provision, has ensured that states did not indiscriminately cut down on additional hundreds of millions of dollars from higher education.

    This provision in fact has played a major role in holding tuition fees down. If not included in the legislation, the situation would have certainly gone out of hand and tuition fees would have further skyrocketed in recent years.

    The time has come to devise methods to completely harness investment of federal dollars in higher education through a permanent, bold federal program. This move will greatly benefit college aspirants among the middle and low income students.

    To stop public higher education privatization, a federal matching program has been proposed by the AASCU. This program will motivate states through leverage of at least $15 billion of federal aid to invest more in public higher education. Also called the Federal State College Affordability Partnership, the program aims at improving affordability for all by lowering tuition fees.

    States can now, through this program, align their goals of offering affordable higher education with the commitment of our government. The program seems to be the right answer to our immediate goal of allowing even the lower income students to access college education.

    Pell Grant is the support offered by the federal government for students who come under the low income bracket. This program will compare with maximum Pell Grant award, per student appropriation in each state. This in turn will ensure that states are able to fund their students through progressively higher matching dollars from the government.

     A significant benefit offered by this program is that it will provide a longer term, meaningful solution to the issue of enhanced public college accessibility for low income Americans by improving predictability and stability of funding. This will be made possible by creation of a strong link between the federal investment and states.

    Apart from millions of American aspirations, many other aspects related to our national interests are at stake such as our country’s global standing. By giving this program a serious consideration, our Congress will certainly doing everyone a huge favour.


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