States — not the feds — have the power to transform higher education

May is graduation season, and an estimated 3.6 million students will be celebrating their completion of the program this year.

The United States must continue to increase the number of people with post-secondary degrees or qualifications to keep up with today’s economy, but the extreme cost of higher education and the resulting student debt keep Americans out of higher education. It questions the value and necessity of education.

If you want to solve these problems, it’s a state, not a federal government We are responsible for making higher education affordable and accessible to all.

Statistics for the 2023 class are still being finalized, 2022 graduation class Get a glimpse of different pathways to post-secondary achievement. About 2 million of these alumni earn a bachelor’s degree, over 800,000 earn an associate’s degree, and over 700,000 earn a work certificate. Nearly 740,000 graduates will be over her 25 years old in 2022, indicating that post-secondary education far exceeds her traditional 18-24 year old students.

Given the Claimed Advantage While receiving higher education, people have been willing to borrow money to cover its costs. 44 million student borrowers $1.7 trillion Average about $37,500 in student debt per student.

But things are changing.recently New America A poll found that half of respondents question whether Americans will have access to affordable, quality education after high school. Coupled with this, Stagnation and Decline in Post-Secondary Enrollment Rateshould raise concerns with political leaders.

The United States faces an inflection point in higher education. by 2027more than 70% of jobs require some form of post-secondary degree or education. 53.7 percent, more than 16 percentage points lower than expected to be required. To achieve this goal, all states must embrace their role in reducing the cost of higher education and making it accessible to all residents.

State governments need to be at the forefront of solving the problem of higher education.of The U.S. Constitution, and Subsequent Supreme Court Litigation, clarified that education is a power reserved to states under the Tenth Amendment. Federal funding has been a means to bridge the cost gap for people from low-income households, rather than the primary means of paying for higher education. Regardless of the outcome of President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, the current higher education financial system is broken.

State legislators have the power to make an immediate difference by reducing the cost of higher education and showing residents that there is still value in pursuing postsecondary education. Below are her three suggestions for ways to leverage and expand what currently works in the higher education system and areas where legislators have a duty to create clearer and more transparent outcomes for students. provides an overview of

First, state policymakers should clarify and strengthen the various secondary secondary pathways available in the state. The number of associate degrees and credentials awarded in the 2022 graduating class shows that residents see value in these programs, but more needs to be done to link these pathways with communities and regions. Need work. economic need.

A perfect example of a seamless pathway is Southern Nevada UniversityWhen we visited a site in the area with us last month Hunt Keane Leadership Fellow, has seen how the state of Nevada provides its students with important professional skills. Dual enrollment gives high school students the opportunity to develop their skills in one of 16 accredited clusters. Each cluster outlines a series of courses and provides pathways to associate degrees and certificates. We hear from students that these clear paths have made post-secondary training easier and more affordable to pursue, while restoring confidence in the value of higher education.

Second, policy makers should minority service agency (MSI) Nationwide. MSI includes Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Institutes (HSIs), Tribal Colleges, Predominantly Black Institutes (PBIs), and Asian American and Pacific Islander Education. Includes institutions. These institutions play a key role in creating an inclusive and supportive environment for students from historically excluded racial groups, economic liquidityMSI plays a pivotal role in addressing the opportunity gap for Black, Hispanic and Native American students seeking post-secondary achievement.Given the success rate These agencies are proud that state legislators must make supporting MSI a priority.

Finally, state policymakers don’t like to talk about spending increases, but if America is to meet its goals and maintain an educated workforce, the states can afford to finance the higher education system. must invest wisely.Funding for higher education has been on the rise in recent years, but when adjusted for inflation, funding per student is still Lagging the recession that preceded 2008 level. Lack of investment from the state, declining financial aid, and rising tuition fees have led students to bear the total cost of education more than ever.

By clarifying postsecondary pathways, improving MSI, and making smart investments, legislators can quickly make a difference not only in the cost of higher education, but also in perceptions of its benefits. .

All current and future students, not just this year’s more than 3.6 million graduates, are obligated to realize the promised benefits of higher education. It’s not only good for our citizens, it’s necessary to keep America competitive in today’s economy, and state legislators are perfectly positioned to take the lead.

Dr. Javaid Siddiqi is the President and CEO of the Hunt Institute.

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