58% Republicans and Republican-leaners claim that colleges and universities have a negative impact on the US. Is the United States of America becoming a land of lost talent?
“If I lived in the US, would I still have been able to go to college? I rely on the government to assist me as I go through school to become a doctor. I’m worried the Republicans’ views towards education are starting to pose as a barrier to children fulfilling their dreams,” says Saloni Pandya, a student at Western University.
58% Republicans and Republican-leaners claim that colleges and universities have a negative impact on the US, up from 45% last year and 37% in 2015 according to a study by Pew Research Centre.
In contrast, 72% of Democrats claim that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the country, exhibiting little or no change from the past years. The declining trend of positive views towards college and university seems to be in line with the rise of popularity of President Donald Trump since his campaign started in 2015.
Although younger Republicans continually express positive views towards college and universities compared to older Republicans, the percentage of Republicans who believe that college has a positive effect on the country has dropped from 65% to 44% since 2015. Shockingly, only less than 40% of Republicans with a college degree or post-grad degree view the impact of colleges positively compared to over 75% of Democrats.
The Republican views towards the negative effect of college and universities are effectively demonstrated in the 2018 Republican budget in which the President announced a whopping 13.5% ($9.5 billion) cut in education for K-12 and aid for higher education. Amongst the cuts, the federal government announced that they would stop subsidizing interest for student loans, adding thousands of dollars to the cost of college, especially for low-income families. The budget also announced phasing out the public service loan forgiveness program which allowed students to erase student loans after 10 years of employment for the government or a qualifying non-profit. Currently, half a million students are enrolled in this program. In contrast, data by CNBC shows that the costs of college tuition have risen 110% since 1996.
A study by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce analysis demonstrates that 59% of jobs in 2010 within the US economy required some additional training beyond high school while projecting that 65% of all jobs will require additional training by 2020.
The US Federal student aid office reports 42.3 million borrowers of various loan programs offered by the government. Considering the significant necessity of student loans and the increasing demand for post-secondary training in the job market, Trump’s budget cuts may make it harder for many students, especially students coming from low-income families to access post-secondary education.
A second-year student at the University of Toronto reported that he wouldn’t be able to remain a student at the university without government student aid. “If Americans have to pay even more to receive the same education they receive, obviously, the education is going to reach fewer people and that’s good for nobody,” reports Anjali Balani, a second-year UMichigan student.
The Republican’s negative views towards education can be detrimental to the children from America.
“If I lived in the US, would I still have been able to go to college? I rely on the government to assist me as I go through school to become a doctor. I’m worried the Republicans’ views towards education are starting to possess a barrier to children fulfilling their dreams,” says Saloni Pandya, a student at Western University.
The impact of the uphill rise in Republicans’ negative views towards college and universities is already clear in the 2018 budget, with more yet to come. Meanwhile, University of Toronto and McGill University, Canada’s top universities, have already seen a spike in interest from American students since Trump’s election. American interest in Canadian universities is rising. The 2018 budget and the Republican anti-education attitude may lead to a surge of American students in Canada while plummeting student population at American universities, in turn causing further budget cuts in education.
So I dare ask, do the axing of 9 billion dollars in education funding and the decline in positive views towards college mean America may progress to become a land of lost talent?