By Glenn Mollette, Op-Ed Contributor
Every American must have the opportunity to pursue college or vocational training. We are living in an era during which even previously trained persons need to sharpen their skills or retool for the future.
Too many people are completing their education facing a massive dilemma of debt. Their next dilemma is trying to break into the job market saddled with backbreaking debt.
We must make education within reach of all American citizens. The following will help make college possible for all:
Colleges and all institutions of higher education must work as all businesses to guard against escalating costs.
The government should provide low interest college or vocational loans to students who must borrow money for their education.
Graduates should be given a three-year grace period before the payback begins.
The government should forgive up to 20% of the loan if paid back in 10 years.
Colleges should be encouraged to develop three year college programs which could cut as much as 25% of the cost of education. Everyone who has attended a four-year college knows they had four or five courses along the way they did not need for their degree program. This would also save tremendously on housing, food and fuel costs.
Colleges are throwing extra courses at their students and keeping them longer to make more money. This means the students borrow more and end up financially crippled. Schools like all businesses must be financially competitive and non-traditional in their programs in order to survive this new era. The number of struggling colleges is growing.
Already I hear someone screaming, “How are we going to compete with the Chinese, Japan and other foreign countries if we are cutting classes from education?” Most college programs have required approximately 30, four-hour classes or 40, three-hour classes. Everyone’s degree program will vary as they add additional courses. I like education as well as the next person. Hurrah for anyone who has the luxury of spending the time obtaining a 150-hour degree! This means a much greater expense, but if you can afford it, then so what? School can be fun and with that many additional classes you are surely learning a lot! My beef is that most American families cannot afford the luxury of a four-year degree being crammed into five, six or more years. We must keep the general college experience to four years to complete. If the college can help students complete the degree in three or three and a half years it saves students, the families and even the government a lot of money.
College trustees, administrators and faculty you are being served notice. Start doing your part to be part of America’s solution and not a central part of our problem. The people in America do not need another dilemma.
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