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House GOP Seeks Major Changes to Higher Education

Image: House GOP Seeks Major Changes to Higher Education
(AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 29 November 2017 01:59 PM

In what would be the biggest overhaul of higher education policies in decades, the House of Representatives this week will propose sweeping legislation which aims to fill a large skills gap that is harming the economy and set the conditions for shorter, faster pathways to the workforce, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The most dramatic aspect of the proposal is a radical change in the $1.34 trillion federal student loan program that would place caps on borrowing and eliminate some loan forgiveness programs.

The Republican plan is aimed at filling a skills gap that has left more than six million jobs unfilled by focusing on ensuring students don't just enroll in school, but actually graduate with skills that the labor market is seeking.

As U.S. News & World Report points out, many believe the Higher Education Act no longer reflects the needs of today's students, who are less likely than in the past to have attended four-year colleges or trade schools and are increasingly going to multiple institutions, changing careers and acquiring skills and knowledge outside the framework of traditional higher education.

This means a system is needed where a student's education matches the skills employers require, programs are flexible and all types of learning are recognized.

The House GOP plan is expected to take more than a year to complete its path through Congress. The Congressional Budget Office is expected to score the bill this week.

The legislation would lead to community colleges receiving more funding to partner with the private sector and create apprenticeships, while the for-profit college sector could get many changes it has insisted on, including equal footing with nonprofit schools regarding limits on federal aid and measurements of graduate success.

This is something that is in line with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's call for a "major shift" away from reliance on the four-year degree.

The higher education establishment is likely to oppose the aspect of the plan that would rein in student loans, as graduate students and parents of undergraduates would face so far unspecified caps on how much they could borrow for tuition and living expenses — instead of borrowing whatever schools charge.

Although Congressional Democrats have argued that the best way to help students is to provide more direct subsidies to them and letting them pay off what they can for a set time, then forgive the balances, many Republicans say these aid programs have become too generous and lead to schools charging higher prices at taxpayers' expense.

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In what would be the biggest overhaul of higher education policies in decades, the House of Representatives this week will propose sweeping legislation which aims to fill a large skills gap that is harming the economy...
house, gop, changes, higher, education
416
2017-59-29
Wednesday, 29 November 2017 01:59 PM
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