Better than free college…

It was more than a year ago that I first heard an interview on NPR that resonated with my own viewpoints on higher education. It happened that it was an interview with Marco Rubio. So I checked his website today to see if he continues to propose similar solutions and I was happy to find that he does. These ideas could be a fairly comprehensive approach to improving the educational landscape.

Why is this important?

  1. Because the current hiring system is, in my opinion unnecessarily and disproportionately disposed toward evaluating candidates based on educational achievements and GPAs instead of personal characteristics, motivations, skills and knowledge.  (see this article from Gary Swart, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20130723131517-758147-the-only-4-dimensions-that-matter-in-hiring-why-you-re-probably-evaluating-them-wrong)
  2. The student loan debt burden is having an inestimably negative impact on debtors (see article from Mark Kantrowitz, http://time.com/money/4168510/why-student-loan-crisis-is-worse-than-people-think/
Here are the major points for improvement raised by Senator Rubio:
  • Simplify Existing Incentives to Help Students Pursue Higher Education
  • Equip Students and Families with Information Necessary to Make Informed College Decisions
  • Reduce Burden of Student Loan Debt by Establishing Automatic Income Based Repayment
  • Reform Outdated Accreditation System to Accommodate Non-traditional Education
  • Invest in Student Success
  • Modernize Higher Education System to Fit 21st Century Economy

Of these ideas, I am most encouraged by:

  1. Make existing higher education information (including graduation rates for nontraditional students, transfers rates, student debt, post-graduation earnings, and likely employment outcomes) available online in an easily-accessible format to help students and families make well-informed decisions.
  2. Promote innovative learning programs by establishing a new accrediting entity to ensure quality of these courses, review eligibility for financial aid, and make credits transferable into the traditional system.
  3. Increase access to career and vocational education; better utilize apprenticeships and valuable on-the-job training; ease access to state colleges and online educational opportunities; increase hiring of non-degree holding workers.

Should you be interested in pursuing your own, low cost, self-directed learning path, please consult the learning resources page of this blog. There are more and more certification programs available online for low or no cost – most especially those in tech. These valuable skills are not limited to computer programming – there are many options for you to consider.

Note: This post is not intended to influence any potential voter’s opinions about the upcoming presidential election. The intent is to open a discussion about higher education modernization and reform.

 

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