Word on the street is that Obama is proposing to make Pell grants for college an entitlement like social security or medicare. It's supposed to make college affordable for everyone.
I'll be the first to agree that higher education is expensive, too expensive, and that it should not be cost-prohibitive. I don't think that college is only for the children of rich people. But I'm afraid of the growing belief that everybody needs to go to college, that if all you have is a high school diploma, then you're SOL for life.
Here's the way it should be:
- Public K-12 education should be good. Really good. It should be as good as a liberal arts education at any top university. But it should be general ed.
- Vocational schools and apprenticeships should abound and be respected, and they should adequately prepare people for jobs that don't actually require college, but jobs that require specific skills (cooking things, building things, fixing things, etc.).
- Community colleges should be available for anyone who wants them. (As far as I know, they're already doing a really good job.)
- Four-year colleges should be more affordable through the increased availability of grants, fellowships, scholarships, and loans. There should be less competition to get in and pay for it, since fewer people would be attending.
- Professional schools and graduate education shouldn't take so long, since students get to college better prepared.