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GOP Platform on Higher Education

July 19, 2016
 
 

The Republican Party's platform, which was released on the first day of the GOP convention in Cleveland, included criticism of the Obama administration's handling of sexual discrimination on college campuses as well as calls to decouple accreditation from federal financial aid and to bring the private sector back into the financing of student loans. The document also criticized the dominance of liberalism on college campuses and argued for the encouragement of new systems of learning to compete with traditional, four-year colleges.

The platform decried ideological bias in public higher education, saying state officials should "preserve our public colleges, universities and trade schools as places of learning and the exchange of ideas, not zones of intellectual intolerance or 'safe zones,' as if college students need protection from the free exchange of ideas." It also condemned infringements on free speech and campus-based boycott, divestment and sanction campaigns against Israel.

On Title IX, which is the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded programs, the Republican document said the White House's alleged "distortion" and micromanagement of the way colleges deal with allegations of abuse "contravenes our country's legal traditions and must be halted before it further muddles this complex issue and prevents the proper authorities from investigating and prosecuting sexual assault effectively with due process."

Citing rising college pricing, the GOP said public policy should advance affordability, innovation and transparency in technical institutions, online universities, lifelong learning and work-based learning in the private sector, while recognizing that a "four-year degree from a brick-and-mortar institution is not the only path toward a prosperous and fulfilling career."

Likewise, the platform said accreditation should be decoupled from federal financing to encourage new modes of higher education delivery to enter the market, while states should be "empowered to allow a wide array of accrediting and credentialing bodies to operate."

The federal government should not be in the business of originating student loans, according to the document, reversing a change the Obama administration made. The restoration of private sector participation would help bring down college costs while giving students access to a multitude of financing options, according to the platform.

 
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