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Get Educated on the Candidate's Higher Ed Proposals

Get Educated on the Candidate's Higher Ed Proposals

An educated population benefits an entire country. Thus, both John McCain and Barack Obama have plans to make college degrees more affordable. Both candidates reach for that goal with drastically different plans.

The AP analyzed the proposals, finding that Obama's are more detailed, and expansive, while McCain's are generalized and call for the elimination of pork-barrel university research projects. Both want to simplify financial aid. To see key points from the candidate's proposals,



  • New Program: Obama would provide most students up to $4,000 a year in tax credits for college, in return for 100 hours of community service. Obama's education proposals are paid for by cutting other federal programs, contracting, and procurement reform, and by eliminating spending on special Congressmember projects.
  • Student Grants: Obama pledges that Pell grants, which go to families with incomes under $50,000, will ''keep pace'' with increases in the cost of college. Pell grants used to cover half of tuition cost, now they cover about one-third.
  • Student Loans: Right now the government provides student loans directly, and subsidizes private lenders. Obama proposes moving the whole student loan system to direct-government loans, instead of subsidizing private lenders, too.


  • New Program: McCain does not propose any new program, citing existing spending pressures. McCain would simplify existing tax benefits, which many eligible families don’t claim, in order to ensure that more families have lower tax burdens when they are helping to send their children to college.
  • Student Grants: McCain would only consider raising Pell awards if there is a pressing need and the budget allows.
  • Student Loans: He supports the dual system of government and private loans. Supporters of the dual system argue it provides competition, which helps students. They also say the government could not administer the full program. (But thanks to the credit crisis, the government has propped up the private lending portion, so the parallel programs already are merging.)

Check out Obama's Education Plan and McCain's Education Plan in their entirety. Even though public colleges and universities fall under the jurisdiction of individual states, which candidate do you think represents your view of a proper national government approach to higher education?


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