Organizations are collaborating with one another and forming partnerships with school systems, and vice versa that are crucial during times of low and meager federal and state funding for education. It is a movement that has garnered support from the Obama administration. The administration, since entering the White House in 2008, has encouraged schools and school districts from around the country to elicit funding from other sources, other than those monies allocated through the state and federal governments, to aid in providing the necessary funding needed to sustain educational systems. An example of the Obama administration’s position at work includes, the federal government initiating programs such as, the Neighborhood Revitalization Program and the HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program, where grants are provided to schools districts in efforts to elicit and help continue productive partnerships between them and various funding sources for community enhancement. “The Obama administration believes it takes everyone in communities working together to ensure that all students are prepared for college, careers and life,” Education Department spokesman Raymonde Charles said.
One funding source grant provided through the Obama administration, Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative program, is being used in Los Angeles to help provide low income students with an online tool to help them prepare for college. This grant program provide monies to education school districts in efforts to increase exposure to educational opportunities through crime and poverty reductions. Focusing on low income and crime riddled communities, the grant helps to revitalize schools and communities through working with schools on a variety of different fronts, such as building health care centers and training offices within schools, and keeping schools open later and opening them earlier to accommodate the needs of the community.
This focus on crime, poverty riddled, low income communities, has led the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative program in becoming the funding source in Los Angeles, providing their students with a much needed technological tool that will aid them in their conquest towards achieving a college education, and avoid the pitfalls of engaging in destructive behaviors. Hence, it is all about making the lives of people better. Through monies from Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative program grant, low income students in Los Angeles will have the opportunity to have access to online college and career planning tools that will aid them in their pursuits towards finding a college, and embarking on a college career. It is overseen by the partnership of the Youth Policy Institute, an L.A.-based nonprofit, and Hobsons, a global education technology firm, both whom are working with the Los Angeles school district in efforts to enhance learning opportunities.
Here is a great example where education funding on the federal level is being used in low income communities to help tackle low college admission rates by equipping the students with the tools to effectively plan for college. A crucial aspect of the total successful college experience, one cannot effectually gain admissions and enter college if they have not effectively planned on it. “By putting technology in the hands of our first-generation students, we’re empowering them to take ownership over their college and career planning – a process in which they’ve historically been ill-supported,” says Dixon Slingerland, executive director of the Youth Policy Institute. “Partnering with an Ed tech company that is deeply committed to our mission helps us to ensure that students are getting the best supports possible to make informed decisions about their academic futures.” Kudos to the Obama administration for supporting collaborations between businesses and school systems in efforts to increase the overall educational experience of our youth.
However, on another note, state governments are not being critiqued all that well as it pertains to their funding of their educational systems. School expenditures across various states are raising red flags, as critics and scholars debate the current position of state education funding. There have been current talks about the process of education funding being constitutionally and historically a state issue, and the need and focus of it should reside solely with the states. However, as funding inequities across the states continue to exist, many critics and scholars have questioned the validity of state focused and powered educational funding schemes, in efforts to promote an ever increasing continuance of the federal government involvement in educational funding that will, nonetheless, usher in a more equitable education funding scheme.
Historically, states, who have the constitutional obligation to provide an education to its citizens, have shown great variability across state lines, as it pertains to funding and sustaining their education systems, where many states participate in education funding schemes that leave low income students at a severe disadvantage. The education funding systems of most states are situated from revenue generated from property taxes. However, this mechanism can be inheritably unequal, as different communities property values are different from others. Hence, wealthy communities are able to secure more monies from property taxes than could less affluent communities. Henceforth, schools in those wealthier communities are situated with more resources for educating youngsters, than those communities serving low income disadvantaged youth. There may be a need to enact federal law to help control for those property tax differences.
A very important case in federal education law was the San Antonio School District vs. Rodriguez battle, where the Supreme Court upheld unequal state funding schemes. Poor districts were severely short changed in this case, which followed suit to other districts across the country. However, with the recent upcoming presidential elections, and the new ushering in of Supreme Court Justices, the San Antonio School District vs. Rodriguez court case could be overturn, and more sound equitable educational funding practices could become a reality. In addition, there have been talks of re-writing the constitution to allow more federal involvement in education practices. Hence, politics are of extreme importance when discussing education funding, as the funding of these systems rest on tax payer dollars, by which it is required by law that all individuals of the United States of America pay various forms of taxes. State legislatures will have to move fast and swiftly to help eradicate the discriminatory practices found within their educational funding schemes.
State higher education funding has not gone unnoticed either. Funding for higher education institutions and students in higher ed have been reduced dramatically since pre- Great Recession numbers. States such as Arizona, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Alabama have seen cuts in higher education funding in upwards of 47%, compared to pre-recession numbers. For example, tuition has risen over 83 percent in Arizona above that of pre-recession levels, by an amount over $4,000, where now, tuition is over $10,000 a year in the state. Quality has also suffered as schools due to budget restraints, have had to reduce faculty, close departments and/or schools within colleges, eliminate academic program offerings, and in some cases, merge schools together within their state higher education systems to compensate for budget woes and losses. Conversely, however, federal aid for higher education has increased in most recent years, where state aid for higher education has declined. Threatening the inner fabric of economic life and stability, states are urged by policy analysts, scholars, and critics to, foster in newer mechanisms for funding their higher education systems if they do not wish to witness the demise of higher education, whom are direct contributors to their economic prowess and workforce.
Between the years of 2007-2008 and 2014-2015, states witnessed education funding and spending cuts, on average, in the amounts of $1,805.00, or a reduction of about 20 percent. In addition, tuition at four year public colleges rose by about $2,068.00, or 29 percent. With the higher tuition costs coupled with less state aid for higher education, the burden of cost has fallen on the backs of the students, and their families. However, competitiveness from abroad will lead states and the federal government, as research suggest, to invest greater in higher education, in an increased effort to sustain and maintain the high caliber United States of America higher education system that will produce a workforce that is diverse, skilled, and competitive on the global scale. “College-educated workers are essential to our nation’s economic success,” said Michael Mitchell, policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “States must reinvest in their colleges and universities now to build the workforce they need to compete in decades to come.” How will all of this take place?
Policy analysts, scholars, and critics all call for a restructuring of law. This can take place when state and federal legislation take heed of the warning signs presented by policy analysts, scholars, and critics that will come true if they continue to partake in the slashing of their budgets for higher education. Something that is crucial for sustaining the America past, present, and hopefully future generations dream of. Leaders need to critically re-address their policies as it pertains to educational funding to help make the institution better.
How has the federal government and states reacted to the recent increases in student loan debt amounts? What are the recent developments concerning federal and state policy, as it pertains to student debt and funding for higher education? Complete student loan debt has increased from $350 billion to approximately $1.2 trillion since 2004. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, more than 1 million borrowers are defaulting on their student loans each year. This is a 125 percent increase from the previous decade. In addition, student loan default occurrences are disproportionately affecting low income individuals, and low income households, as well as, those students who attend for profit institutions. A number of different facts affect this issue raising causes for this, including, low income families have an increased rate of none completion of their degree programs relative to other groups, thus, in avertedly, affecting their ability to acquire the employment necessary to efficiently pay off their student loan debt. Also, for profit institutions have historically been more costly than non-for-profit institutions. This is cause for higher student loan debt amounts by their students, not to leave out, for profit institutions attract large numbers of low income individuals, whom have low college completion rates. Also, in 2012, 79 percent of low-income students, students from families in the bottom income bracket, graduating with a bachelor’s degree had student loans. This number is compared with 55 percent of graduating students from wealthy families taking out loans. Hence, student loan borrowing has historically been featured more among low income groups than wealthier groups.
Student debt has also been a result of over and under borrowing on student loans. Students often have to borrow money from the federal government if scholarship and grant amounts do not cover all expenses. There is a cap on the amount the federal government will lend to students. This cap is usually a reflection of the total cost of attendance for the institutions they wish to attend. Colleges and universities analyze the cost of attendance by guesstimating the amount students will pay in tuition, fees, books, housing, transportation and other expenses. After subtracting other forms of financial aid, students are able to borrow up to the cost of attendance aggregate. However, in recent years students have habitually borrowed amounts in excess of the total cost of attendance, over borrowing, and funding expenses like cars and clothing as they attend college. Also, students have recently begun, in grooves, taking on fewer course loads in order to work full time so that they can borrow lower amounts, reducing their student loan debt. This strategy, though, has proven detrimental and harmful to the students, as they, the students, have not been able to finish their degree programs and acquire the necessary credentials that will lead them into better career arenas and earning wage brackets that will eventually help them pay off their loans. An issue federal and state governments have decided needed policy intervention in efforts to alleviate it.
Education funding, specifically as it pertains to student loans for college, has been fundamentally a federal concern and issue. However, with the increased number of students acquiring student loan debt, and defaulting on their loans, states have recently decided to implement policy measures of their own to address the problem. These policy measures include, loan forgiveness and repayment programs, providing students more information, refinancing existing loans, tax deductions and credits, low-interest and no-interest loans, improving student protections, child savings accounts, focus on higher education affordability, and build and maintain capacity.
Health care workers and primary care physicians have been some occupations targeted by states and have been granted policy initiatives for help on repayment options and loan forgiveness. These programs usually stipulates where the graduates will work, and for what amount of time. Other occupations targeted by states for assistance have included teachers and social workers. States with such programs have included Kansas and New York. Similar stipulations usually apply across job sectors.
The state of Indiana, after following a program initially implemented by Indiana University, has implemented a new policy that requires reporting to the student, information pertaining to total loan amounts, monthly repayment estimates, and how close them, the students, are to reaching their federal loan limit, among other things. The state of Indiana, something other states should follow, feels that a lack of pertinent knowledge is what causing the rise in student debt amounts. Hence, increasing exposure to germane information is a strategy being used by states to help council and educate student against acquiring outrageous amounts of debt, or, being able to manage it and pay it off if they do have to acquire it.
Seven states have agreed to enact policy that will allow students to refinance their student loans. These states are California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Rhode Island. Student loan authorities were created by the states during the 1980s to assist with the distribution and tracking of student loans offered by the federal government within their state. These same student loan authorities are now currently being designated as the sole manager spearheading the authorization of and the refinancing of student loans. However, as refinance become an ever more apparent method to alleviating student loan debt, states will have to take into consideration the amount of risk they are willing to take, and what loans will be eligible for refinancing. Dire and important questions of concern as it pertains to the refinancing of student loans.
Tax deductions and credits are a main resource used in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to tackle student debt loan amounts, however, is a policy option that many states bring forth during legislation each year but do not pass on them. These tax deductions and credits are used to retain graduates within the state. States have varying methods of allocating the deductions and tax credits for student loans, such as restricting them to community college graduates, maintaining employment within the state where the program is offered as an eligibility requirement, and the type of degree and level of degree issued as a granting measured. The deductions and credits can help reduce to amount of loan taken out, or the overall amount needed.
Low interest and no interest loan programs have been of increased use lately, especially as states seek to improve student protection from high interest loan lenders. Interest rates may vary with the type of loan offered, and when the loan is taken out. States are typically now offering loan programs with better interest rates than some private loans, in which students, when they have exhausted all federal loans amounts, result to in efforts to continue funding their education. These state loan programs help students from taking on loans with exaggerated interest rates, and further help states elicit protections for students from loans lenders that may have a tendency to prey on eager students looking to fund their education, and want to do it by all means possible, without carefully weighing in all components of the loans, including interest rate amounts.
Examples of states enforcing policy to protect students from lenders include Connecticut, and their enacting of a Student Loan Bill of Rights into decree. The bill of rights creates a student loan watchdog to assist students and provide information to the public, stakeholders, and other constituency about loan related information. It also requires loan servicers be approved by the state. Oklahoma passed legislation in 2013 known as the Oklahoma Private Student Loan Transparency and Improvement Act. This act enforces restrictions and mandates that private loan lenders must adhere to, in addition to, requiring these lenders to disclose specific, important, pivotal, and vital information prior to issuing and distributing loans.
A great idea that many states are now implementing are child saving accounts, which are used to help low income families save for college. Link to 529 college saving plans, these plans are orchestrated by colleges, educational institutions, and states to help low income families save for college. Research shows that as little as $500 additional dollars towards colleges increases the chances of a student from a low income household, thus disadvantaged background, completing college.
College affordability is an issue that has garner much interest in legislation. Many politicians are saying that increased tuition rates are what causing much of the increase in student debt amounts. These increased tuition rates are usually a result of lack of enough funding for higher education institutions to take care of all overhead expenses. Enacting tuition policy, providing federal and state financial aid, and incorporating an efficient higher education appropriation policy can help states keep a cap on tuition rates from state institutions that can help make colleges and universities more affordable. Scholars and critics have suggested states share in ideas of what works. In addition, from more so a social aspect, decreasing, or more eliminating the wealth disparities out of the communities can have sweeping changes to college affordability, through increasing the number of households being able to afford to pay for college.
A new interesting and yet another important module states are currently using to help alleviate students from acquiring outrageous amounts of debt is increasing capacity at their public institutions. This can help reduce the urgency for students to attend college at for-profit institutions, where more debt has historically be acquired, and encourage enrollment at more affordable public institutions within their home state(s). For-profit institution students have increasingly accumulate more student debt and default statuses due to for-profit institutions traditionally higher tuition rates, and their heighten attractiveness to low income disadvantaged individuals, whom have lower completion rates.
There are many federal policy programs that are in place to help relieve students from their surmounting debts. These programs are usually income based, and forgive remaining loan balances after a certain length of time. Scholars, constituencies, critics, and stakeholders have suggested states supplement federal protection programs instead of superseding them with costly, ineffective measures. By supplementing them, and not superseding them, states can commendably tackle the problem more economically.
Higher education budget issues are not only issues that are plaguing the United States, but also, issues of concern for countries abroad. This would include the country of South Africa. Always being a topic of discussion and concern for the people of South Africa, the most recent budget speech orated by the Finance Minister for the country Pravin Gordhan, featured important news and information for the higher education budget for the country, particularly of interest for the recent FeesMustFall movement.
Quality and accessibility to higher education is of great concern and importance to South Africans, as many of them are protesting the rise in tuition and the ineffective budget for higher education funding and allocations. Despite the fact that the worldwide known prejudice and discriminatory practices of apartheid has been dissembled since the release from prison and the presidency of Nelson Mandela, inequality and inequity still exists within the borders of that country. Wage earning disparities exists, in addition to a strong linkage between poverty and race, where black South Africans represent a disproportionate number of persons living in poverty. Consequently, this forces families out of the economic loop needed to afford for college. Henceforth, this form of inequity is featured overwhelmingly within the higher education institutions of the country. South Africans have recently protested against any additional hikes in tuition, and advocated an end to the dichotomy that exist between wealth, income levels, and presence, and accessibility to higher education.
Higher education in South Africa has been a white male dominated institutional society, where 53% of the professorship is white, however, whites only make up 8% percent of the population of South Africa. This is not an ideal representation of community, whereas, white-Eurocentric dominated thought, belief system, and action could overwhelm native black culture and tradition that is not only important to black South Africans, but also the world. Although there is a budget freeze, more specifically a tuition fee-freeze, slated for 2016, there are provisions in place to make up for that for the next three years. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme is schedule to grow on average 14% a year for the three years following the 2016 freeze.
State contributions to university education declined from 49% at the beginning of the 21st century to 40% by 2012, while the encumbrance on students increased from 24% to 31% during the same period. It is therefore not at all that surprising that each calendar year, the year starts off with student protests demanding free education, or lower tuition fees, or a cap on tuition fees altogether. What are the “real” reasons behind the rise in fees at colleges and universities in South Africa? What are the economic components to the increase in fees, why have they increased?
There is a call in both countries, South Africa and the US, to increase their percentage of their GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to higher education spending. Currently, the US and the UK spend 0.9% of GDP on higher education, while South Africa is spending 0.75% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on higher education. Hopefully, this increase in GDP spending towards higher education can provoke assistance in releasing the students from the worry of acquiring more debt to furnish their education due to increases in tuition fee amounts.
Making quality education available to all persons is what is on the minds of the Obama administration for their 2017 budget. Ensuring the availability of a quality education will include supporting students, teachers, and school leaders, increasing higher education affordability and accessibility, and supporting the community and society as a whole. “The President’s budget reflects the Administration’s broader efforts to expand opportunity and ensure every child can achieve his or her full potential,” said Acting Education Secretary John B. King Jr. “We have made tremendous progress with record high school graduation rates and more students of color going to college, but we have further to go to ensure that educational excellence is a reality for all students. This budget builds on the Administration’s continued efforts to invest in education, from high-quality early learning through college.”
There is much money the administration is pouring in to various grants and programs to better equipped America with the schools and school systems needed to produce a whole functional, confident, and competent society, lone full of individuals equipped, ready, and successful with what they do. The promise of the American dream. Some of the initiatives the administration wishes to implement in the following year’s 2017 budget include:
•$15.4 billion for Title I Grants to school districts—the cornerstone of federal efforts to ensure that all students, including poor and minority students, students with disabilities, and English learners, graduate from high school prepared for college and careers
•$125 million for the proposed Teacher and Principal Pathways program for grants to institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations, working closely with school districts, to create or expand high-quality pathways into the teaching profession, particularly into high-needs schools and high-need subjects such as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)
•Increase the Pell Grant by an additional $300 through the On-Track Pell Bonus for students taking at least 15 credit hours per semester in an academic year, the number of credits typically required for on-time completion
•Expand postsecondary opportunity to incarcerated individuals eligible for release through the Second Chance Pell proposal that would restore their Pell eligibility with the goals of helping them get jobs, support their families, turn their lives around, and strengthen their communities
Sustaining the viability of the American promise is what the driving force towards budget implementation is, as America embarks on future endeavors. Ensuring that the budget is adequate for educational funding on both the federal and state levels is paramount. As the country embarks on a new election year, the future president of the United States and their administration will have to be ready to ensure everybody is doing their job.