Just like K-12 education, higher education is at a crossroads. Where we go in the next five years sets the tone for the rest of the 21st century. Here is what I feel needs to be done to help our country generate a system of colleges and universities that are second to none.
(1) GRANTS, LOANS, AND OTHER ASSISTANCE….I feel that we should continue to make grants available to assist those who would not be able to go to college any other way. I also feel that we should continue to make low interest loans available for students. If students are not able to repay loans at any time during the loan, we should continue allowing them to put off paying the loan until they are able to repay the loan. We should also continue the practice of assisting those who serve by continuing the tuition assistance for those in the military or for those who are in the Peace Corps. We should also be willing to negotiate an amount to waive in student loans and interest if the person volunteers at least a certain number of hours per year or if they are willing to work in an economically disadvantaged area.
(2) STUDENT AND FACULTY SAFETY…..Recent incidents of violence shows us that we are in a violent world. However, institutions of higher learning should be a safe haven. I feel that we should increase security and police presence on all college campuses. I also feel that we should consider metal detectors similar to those at the courthouse at the entrance to all campus buildings. I also feel that we should train faculty and campus security on how to respond to any situation, large or small. I also feel that we need standardized communication procedures for colleges on how to notify students about emergency situations.
(3) QUALITY OF EDUCATION……I feel that all colleges should set a list of goals for all classes as to what that class will cover, and then expect every professor teaching that class to ensure that they at least teach the concepts considered standard by the people over the institution of higher learning in which they work. I also feel that textbook manufacturers should commit to putting out good quality materials in their textbooks, while at the same time looking at ways to reduce student costs for those textbooks.