Yesterday likely Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released his education plan, A Chance for Every Child: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Restoring the Promise of American Education, that outlines several broad themes related to K-12 and higher education.
The plan for higher education, A New Vision Of Affordable And Applicable Learning, recognizes the importance and value of the nation’s higher education system but expresses concern regarding the current direction of higher education in the United States.
Romney identifies a handful of challenges for higher education that must be addressed. Among the challenges is the position that federal funding is leading to an increase in tuition which in turn is increasing student indebtedness. In addition while traditional models of higher education are important, “other models of advanced skills training are becoming ever more important to success in the American economy, and new educational institutions will be required to fill those roles”.
In response to these challenges, Romney’s plan proposed reforms in the following areas:
- Strengthen and simplify the financial aid system by consolidating duplicative and overly complex programs in the U.S. Department of Education and focus the Department’s work on giving students and families with financial need the information they need to make informed decisions;
- Invite private sector participation instead of excluding it by reversing the Obama Administration’s implemenation of direct lending and return to bank-based lending; and
- Replace regulation with innovation and competition by encouraging market entry of new education models, emphasize skill attainment and support research and development.