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• Accredit institutions to focus on student outcomes.
• Allow for educational innovation to better meet the academic needs and anticipated career outcomes for nontraditional students.
• Expand Pell Grants to fund apprenticeships, internships and certification to provide work-based learning opportunities that accelerate individuals into well-paying, high-demand jobs faster than a two-year or four-degree education.
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• Enable students to get credit for prior experiences, such as military, work or academic opportunities, in order to accelerate program completion.
• Provide support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) through the establishment of the permanent standing of the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs and the Interagency Working Group, which seeks to improve the identity, visibility and competitiveness of HBCUs. Again, these policy proposals are merely suggestions from The White House to Congress as they look to update the Higher Education Act, which hasn’t been reauthorized since 2008. Whether these changes are implemented remains to be unseen. As students consider colleges and make final college decisions in the coming weeks, it’s important to keep a few things in mind where student loans are concerned: • Always borrow federal first. They have the lowest interest rates, ultimately saving you money over the lifetime of the loan as compared to private student loans.
• Never borrow more than your anticipated annual salary. Do some research on a few of your career interests, and find entry-level salary figures in order to determine how much you should realistically and responsibly borrow.
• Exhaust scholarship, grants and saving options before borrowing. The more you earn in the scholarship search and through part-time job work, the less you have to borrow.