Our View: Biden’s dream for higher ed sounds good to us, but will it happen?

DKS Editors

When Vice President Joe Biden recently spoke out to college students, he made a whole lot of promises, goals and strategies for higher education in America.

Some aspects of his plan seem both beneficial and feasible. For example, the Obama administration’s first priority is to align graduates’ loan debt with the starting average salary of the field they’re entering. If you want to be a teacher with a salary of $30,000 a year, you will not have to pay more than 10 percent of your disposable income every month.

He also wants a “major expansion” of Perkins loans to cover about 3 million students instead of the current 450,000. This will be possible by reinvesting money the government has collected from the interest on those loans. Perkins loans provide financial help for low-income students who have used up their maximum amount of standard federal loans.

Both of these goals will help students afford college and transition into their careers of choice.

However, other ideas are just plain unrealistic. Biden wants to provide incentives to colleges that keep tuition low, while penalizing those that raise it. “We’re going to be saying to your universities, ‘Look, if you don’t keep tuition under control and bring down costs, then you’re not going to get this portion of the [$10 billion] aid.’”

The problem lies with determining whether schools actually deserve to be punished for asking a little more from their students. Biden acknowledges that a “fair formula” needs to decide whether a certain college’s tuition is worthy of increasing. But how will this “fair formula” work, and who will create it?

Lastly, Biden wants to double the number of work-study programs, which is already a billion dollar investment. “The school has to provide some matching funds for this,” he explains, “but we’re going to double those programs.” The likelihood of a school being stable enough to match these funds is unlikely at best. Especially if they’re already being penalized for raising tuition.

For now, it might be better to make promises you know you can keep.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.