"New student loan rates currently are about 4.29%, versus the U.S. government currently pays a maximum of 4% on notes and bonds it issues. So, with the cost of administering the loans, the interest rate on new loans is about right. Repayment of the loans currently is limited to 10% of a person’s income, which is reasonable. The government should provide subsidies for classes that teach skills that will be in short supply in the future, so that people are encouraged to learn the skills that will help the economy in the long-term.
"The proposal to have the U.S. government pay for all state colleges would be expensive ($70 billion or more per year), and unlikely to be passed by Congress.
"Although colleges have been the primary source of advanced learning in the world for hundreds of years, college lectures are old technology.
"Colleges, and the students at each college, spend millions of dollars each year on substantially identical lecture courses that are given in hundreds of colleges throughout the U.S. These courses include the first year courses in accounting, economics, biology, chemistry, physics, psychology, and hundreds more.
"There is a newer technology, online courses, which are available from many sources. Many of these courses are very low cost. They courses can be taken at home, without the cost and time wasted in commuting.
"We need to have a system of standardized tests available to grade students who have taken the online courses.
"Such tests are already done in some areas of learning, such as CPA and bar exams. This needs to be expanded. As a potential employer wanting to hire, for example, a bookkeeper, I would want to find an employee who had passed tests in basic accounting, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, and taxes. Most employers looking for a bookkeeper would not care if the applicant has spent 4 years in college taking history or science courses.
"Someone interviewing for a scientific research assistant person would want to see that the applicant had passed courses in science. Tests could be given by the Educational Testing Service or a similar organization for about $50 per test, and would have more meaning to a potential employer than a college degree.
"The federal government should make sure that there are tests available for all major online classes."