With tax reform finally passed, it’s time for Congress to start focusing on the next way they can help young Americans. If making it easier for the next generation to start out on the right foot is a priority, higher education reform should be at the top of legislators’ to-do list in 2018.
Today, young Americans are often told higher education is their only ticket to a successful life. But once they begin school, they quickly become trapped in a system that saddles them with a mountain of debt without adequately preparing them to succeed.
In the class of 2015, two out of three students graduated with debt, and the average balance was around $30,000. Americans owe around $1.3 trillion in student debt, and many of them struggling to make ends meet can’t keep up with their payments.
More than half of young adults say their student debt forced them to put off a major life decision like buying a car, getting married or having kids.
So what’s driving this crisis? For starters, the current federal student loan system means schools can spend absurd amounts of money on non-teaching staffers and lazy rivers and keep hiking tuition while saddling students with debt that will follow them for decades.
The system also does almost nothing to hold schools accountable when they fail to give students an education that helps them.
Time for Some Change
It’s time to start bringing some transparency and accountability to this broken system.
Students should know whether their tuition dollars are being spent on top-notch faculty or a new gym for the football team. They should know whether graduates are excelling post-college or unable to pay their loans.
Schools should be held accountable when they spend more money on rock-climbing walls than educating students. They should bear some of the risk for students who they failed to prepare for post-college life. And they should stop using the outdated accreditation process to protect their monopolies and keep innovative startups from coming up with new ways for students to learn.
Finally, government needs to get out of the student loan business. Instead of making college more affordable, these programs encourage schools to hike tuition time after time while burying students in debt.
If you’re ready for higher education reform, sign the petition demanding lawmakers take action.