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Rubio Wants to Take on Higher Education 'Cartel'

July 8, 2015

Senator Marco Rubio began to flesh out his higher education campaign plan on Wednesday with a major policy speech that featured some fighting words for traditional colleges.

"Within my first 100 days, I will bust this cartel by establishing a new accreditation process that welcomes low-cost, innovative providers," the Florida Republican and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination said in prepared statement.

The speech in Chicago built on related proposals Rubio has pushed in the Senate. He cited student debt levels and the lack of workforce relevance of degree programs as reasons to create a new accreditation pathway for upstart providers. "This would expose higher education to the market forces of choice and competition," he said, "which would prompt a revolution driven by the needs of students -- just as the needs of consumers drive the progress of every other industry in our economy."

Rubio also mentioned a bipartisan bill he previously co-sponsored that would give prospective students and parents detailed information on how much graduates in academic programs at individual colleges could expect to make.

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Paul Fain

Paul Fain, Contributing Editor, came to Inside Higher Ed in September 2011, after a six-year stint covering leadership and finance for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Paul has also worked in higher ed P.R., with Widmeyer Communications, but couldn't stay away from reporting. A former staff writer for C-VILLE Weekly, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., Paul has written for The New York Times, Washington City Paper and Mother Jones. He's won a few journalism awards, including one for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association and the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award. Paul got hooked on journalism while working too many hours at The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in political science in 1996. A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a long-suffering fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fain plays guitar in a band with more possible names than polished songs.

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