Excerpts from the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms on Student Financial Aid
September 04, 2012
This article provides excerpts of the proposals concerning student financial aid for college that appear in the 2012 Democratic National Platform and the 2012 Republican Platform. Neither platform, however, contains a lot of detail about student financial aid.
Some of the key differences between the two parties include the role of banks in making new federal education loans, changes in funding for the Pell Grant program, making the American Opportunity Tax Credit (Hope Scholarship Tax Credit) permanent, regulation of for-profit higher education, and support for the Dream Act.
There seems to be some agreement on the need for greater transparency on measures of college quality, such as completion rates and repayment rates. Both parties also seek to address increases in college costs, but propose different approaches to dealing with the problem.
The following excerpts omit material that is not specific to student financial aid and higher education. The omissions are marked with ellipsis (…). The parties are listed in alphabetical order.
Excerpts from the 2012 Democratic National Platform
“… more students are receiving grants and scholarships …
Democrats believe that getting an education is the surest path to the middle class, giving all students the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and contribute to our economy and democracy. … We are committed to ensuring that … America has the world’s highest proportion of college graduates by 2020.
To help keep college within reach for every student, Democrats took on banks to reform our student loan program, saving more than $60 billion by removing the banks acting as middlemen so we can better and more directly invest in students. To make college affordable for students of all backgrounds and confront the loan burden our students shoulder, we doubled our investment in Pell Grant scholarships and created the American Opportunity Tax Credit worth up to $10,000 over four years of college, and we’re creating avenues for students to manage their federal student loans so that their payments can be only 10 percent of what they make each month. President Obama has pledged to encourage colleges to keep their costs down by reducing federal aid for those that do not, investing in colleges that keep tuition affordable and provide good value, doubling the number of work-study jobs available to students, and continuing to ensure that students have access to federal loans with reasonable interest rates. We invested more than $2.5 billion in savings from reforming our student loan system to strengthen our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Alaska, Hawaiian Native Institutions, Asian American and Pacific Islander Institutions, and other Minority Serving Institutions. These schools play an important role in creating a diverse workforce, educating new teachers, and producing the next generation of STEM workers.
We Democrats also recognize the economic opportunities created by our nation’s community colleges. That is why the President has invested in community colleges and called for additional partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train two million workers with the skills they need for good jobs waiting to be filled, and to support business-labor apprenticeship programs that provide skills and opportunity to thousands of Americans. The President also proposed to double key investments in science to educate the next generation of scientists and engineers, encourage private sector innovation, and prepare at least 100,000 math and science teachers over the next decade. And to make this country a destination for global talent and ingenuity, we won’t deport deserving young people who are Americans in every way but on paper, and we will work to make it possible for foreign students earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to stay and help create jobs here at home."