By: Barry Kaye  | 

Candidates Offer Plan On College Education (Vol. 54, Issue 2)

In the 1988 Presidential campaign, college students are faced with two candidates who have distinctly different views on the issue most pertinent to our college education — cost.

Governor Dukakis has made a proposal, labeled the Student Tuition and Repayment System (STARS), which would innovatively try to combat rapidly escalating college costs, in the face of stagnant wages for most middle-income Americans and constrained Federal student aid programs, Under STARS, all students would be able to borrow money to help finance their education; however, instead of having to make traditional loan repayments, borrowers would repay their loans in the form of added payroll taxes, once they enter the work force. Repayments would be set at a fixed percentage of each borrower's earnings; thus STARS would not unfairly burden borrowers who have low incomes. The plan is simple and would entail no new government subsidies. In contrast with existing programs, there would be no defaults, which now cost the Federal Government about 1.6 billion dollars a year.

Meanwhile, Vice President Bush has outlined a four-point program to aid students in the battle against spiraling college costs. Bush believes the key to affordable higher education is a College Savings Bond program, modeled after a regular U. S. Savings Bond. However, unlike the U. S. Savings Bonds, the interest would be tax free unless diverted away from college tuition. In addition, Bush advocates the establishment of Education Savings Accounts, modeled after an Individual Retirement Account; an expansion of income contingent loan programs which adjust payments annually to fit the income a graduate earns after college; a strengthening of  debt collection procedures; and continued funding of educational grants in conjunction with work study programs.

Thus, on Nov. 8, the way in which our future college bills will be paid will be decided by the voters.