Both Republicans and Democrats have given higher education a plank in their election-year platforms, according to The Hechinger Report. While K-12 education has often been addressed by the parties, higher ed usually doesn’t get nearly as much attention.
Affordability is the main issue for the Democratic Party, although the report said the position doesn’t offer any proposals for helping low-income students to stay in school to get a degree.
“The platform includes promises to support institutions that serve minority students, to promote cheaper loan repayment plans and more state funding for higher education, and to ‘go after’ for-profit colleges that are deceptive. Most striking is the pledge to make community college free,” wrote Meredith Kolodner.
The Republicans are looking to limit the amount of Pell grants and eliminate subsidies for Stafford loans as part of a larger effort to reduce the federal budget, neither of which sit well with students. However, the platform supports revising student-loan rules to help prevent students from ending up with more debt than they can afford.
“Republicans argue spending alone doesn’t improve access to higher education. They have also targeted regulation, saying it vastly increases universities’ expenses—something higher-education lobbyists have also argued, though there’s no reliable research about how much regulartion costs schools—and complicates college-going for students,” wrote Mikhail Zinshteyn.