The College Cost Reduction and Access Act

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act

A Chapter by Debbie Barry
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An essay about equality of opportunity, efficiency, and quality under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. Written for EDU 108: Introduction to Policy & Education.

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The College Cost Reduction and Access Act


11/28/2009

 


The College Cost Reduction and Access Act combines the values of equality of opportunity, efficiency, and quality. As such, it appears to fit the new politics liberalism ideology, the social democracy ideology, or a combination of the two. In a summary of the act by the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) (n.d.), published at http://help.senate.gov/HR2669_summary.pdf, it states that the act “will increase access to higher education and ensure our scarce federal dollars are going where they are most needed " to students” (HELP, n.d., para. 1). This mission statement clearly illustrates the three values that have been identified.

In Policy Studies for Educational Leaders, Fowler (2009) states that “[e]qual opportunity exists when everyone has a similar chance to get a good education or find a decent job, regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, handicapping condition, age, or national origin” (111-112). The College Cost Reduction and Access Act fulfills that definition by “[i]ncreasing access for low-income students… protecting working students… increase[ing] access to and preparation for college… [and] [p]rotecting students” (HELP, n.d., paras. 2-3, 7). By improving and ensuring educational access to disadvantaged students, the act provides more students with the opportunity to get the best education possible. According to HELP’s summary, then, if the College Cost Reduction and Access Act works as it designed to work, more students from marginalized groups will be able to obtain quality educations in the future than have been able to do so in the past. No student will be discriminated against based on his or her skin color, gender, or almost any other factor outside of academic performance and school or criminal behavior, so that the education system will benefit from increased diversification of students, teachers, and administrators.

Also in Policy Studies, Fowler (2009) identifies efficiency as “obtaining the best possible return on an expenditure or investment” (114). HELP’s act accomplishes this by [e]asing the burden on borrowers by cutting student loan interest rates in half… directing unnecessary lender subsidies to student aid… [and] [h]olding colleges accountable for rising costs” (HELP, n.d., paras. 2-7). By reducing student loan interest rates and redirecting funds into student aid, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act increases the number of students who are able to obtain a quality education by making it easier for students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to afford an education. By reducing or removing economic barriers to education, the act will ensure that students of disadvantaged groups may have a realistic opportunity to break out of the mold and move into a world of greater social, economic, and professional advantage.

Fowler (2009) states that “quality of education usually takes the form of seeking higher, more intellectually demanding standards in school” (117). The College Cost Reduction and Access Act fosters a value of quality in education by “creat[ing] incentives for good teachers to teach in high-need schools by establishing new TEACH Grants… [and] serving many of our nation’s minority students who would not otherwise obtain a degree” (HELP, n.d., paras. 4-6). By placing better teachers in the schools that need them, the act provides schools with the opportunity to provide a higher quality education to their students. Historically, the highest quality educational experiences have only been available to students in middle- to upper-class communities, where students, parents, and teachers feel safe and have access to more resources. The best teachers have traditionally gone to safe, pleasant communities, leaving schools in more dangerous, usually poorer communities to make do with less skilled, less enthusiastic, more stressed teachers to face the additional social challenges inherent in those communities. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act would level the playing field by enticing good teachers to work in communities that need to improve.

According to Fowler (2009), “[t]he major values of new politics liberals are equality and fraternity, understood as solidarity within an oppressed group” (125). /based on the College Cost Reduction and Access Act’s value of equality of opportunity, then, the act might fit within the new politics liberalism ideology. In HELP’s summary of the act (n.d.), solidarity among students from minority and other marginalized groups appears to be served in several ways, including “increase[ing] access to and preparation for college by both restoring funding for Upward Bound, a key college access program, and creating College Access Challenge Grants to increase college outreach activities in every state” (HELP, n.d., para. 3). In addition, “[t]he College Cost Reduction and Access Act would invest an additional $500 million in [minority serving] institutions” (HELP, n.d., para. 6), which would improve equality of educational opportunity for minority students.

Like new politics liberalism, “[e]quality and fraternity… are the key values for social democrats” (Fowler, 2009, 128), so the College Cost Reduction and Access Act fits into the social democracy ideology in just the same way that it appears to fit into the new politics liberalism ideology. In addition, “social democrats… advocate economic growth” (Fowler, 2009, 128), which meshes well with the act’s commitment to financial improvements, including “increasing the maximum Pell Grant by $500 next year and to $5,400 by 2012, and… increasing the income level at which a student is automatically eligible for the maximum Pell” (HELP, n.d., para. 2), and also by “ensur[ing] the system works for students and sav[ing] taxpayer dollars” (HELP, n.d., para. 5). With these economic considerations, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act may then fit better into social democracy than it fits into new politics liberalism.

It is possible that, like most other aspects of life, the College Cost Reduction and Access Act does not actually fit just one ideology, but that it fits a blending of two compatible ideologies. With its three identified social values of equality, efficiency, and quality, the generally liberal College Cost Reduction and Access Act embraces a combined ideology of new politics liberalism and social democracy. 

 


References


College cost reduction and access act, the: a new commitment to students and families (n.d.).       Retrieved November 27, 2009, from the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education,     Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Web site: http://help.senate.gov/HR2669_summary.pdf


Fowler, F.C. (2009). Policy studies for educational leaders: an introduction (3rd ed). Boston:    Allyn & Bacon.

 




© 2017 Debbie Barry



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Debbie Barry
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Debbie Barry
Debbie Barry

Clarkston, MI



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I live with my husband in southeastern Michigan with our two cats, Mister and Goblin. We enjoy exploring history through French and Indian War re-enactment and through medieval re-enactment in the So.. more..

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