Mitt Romney has a financial aid plan for you.
If you can’t afford college, borrow money from your parents.
In a speech at Otterbein University, Mitt Romney told students if they are unable to afford college or start a small business, they should borrow money from their parents. Romney does not understand that education is a basic need that can be, for many people, difficult to afford.
In his first year as governor, Romney cut funding for community colleges in Massachusetts by 17 percent. Obama, on the other hand, gave nearly $40 billion to nearly 10 million students this year for their college education. Public four-year college tuition rose more than $8,000 over the last decade, averaging $17,131. Obama’s Pell Grants have helped students achieve a college education during this rapid tuition increase.
Obama’s approach to funding higher education doesn’t impress everyone. One sophomore, who requested anonymity, said, “Obama is making upper class people pay for all of the lower class people who don’t even try to make their own money.”
Obama does not make upper class people pay for people who do not try to make their own money. Instead, Obama wants a slight tax increase on the affluent to assist those who cannot afford education. Most disadvantaged people do have jobs, but don’t make enough to afford college. It is unfair to assume that someone cannot receive education because they have less.
In his website’s education section, Romney does not specifically mention what he will accomplish as president. Instead he lists three goals he would like to complete: promote choice and innovation, ensure high standards and responsibility for results, and finally, recruit and reward great teachers. These ideas are general and leave millions of Americans wondering if Romney would be able to improve schools across the country with specific ideas and if he would be able to accommodate people with different financial needs.
Obama’s plan for education, Race to the Top, awards points for schools that follow six criteria that Obama wants for all schools, ranging from good teachers and leaders, to more assessments, to turning around the lowest achieving schools. Schools that score well in this system win millions of dollars for education in their state. Ohio was awarded $400 million through the program. The government also awarded prizes to 11 other states.
Obama understands that education affects everyone. However, in his first term, Obama had other education goals, not just Race to the Top. This causes many people to question if Obama is truly capable of following through with his word. Martha Smith, a volunteer for the Obama Campaign, said, “I was very enthusiastic about him in ’08, but he disappointed me this term. He failed to do a lot of what he promised to do.”
Obama demonstrated that he understands that many people need help to achieve a better education. Race to the Top has given money to 12 states, improving their schools and helping more students go to them. With Obama’s goals, people with all different economic means will be able to attend school and get an education.
A version of this article appeared in print on 31 October 2012, on page 5 of The Shakerite.