Gubernatorial candidates show differences on higher education financial aid policies

The campus has been buzzing with opinion and controversy lately. Election day is coming up, leaving many students rushing to register to vote so that they can have a say in how the country is run.

Among the many concerns in this year’s political campaign, one that many college students tend to focus on is the financial aspect of higher education. As many politicians struggle with how to fix state funding and the economic crisis, some come into a conflict regarding whether or not to make any changes to budget cuts or tuition fees for colleges and universities nationwide.

These issues that plague political parties and candidates are exactly what encourage students to vote. Students are more likely to vote when “they are personally affected by the outcome of an election.

The major concerns of college students and their families include persistent high unemployment, a decrease in college affordability, increase in the student loan burden, and possible cuts in college grants and education tax benefits,” Mark Kantrowitz, the founder of the website Finaid.org, wrote for The New York Times. With most jobs that earn a salary large enough to support a family, a post-secondary education is almost always a prerequisite.

Jay Inslee, the Democratic candidate running for governor of Washington state, supports and emphasizes the point that many families should not be spending every last dollar on the cost of their students’ higher education. Inslee stresses that students and families can’t afford to deal with any more tuition and cost increases.

Inslee states on his website that his “higher education plan is based on four principles: affordability, accessibility, workforce development and improving outcomes.”

Inslee plans to protect higher education financial aid by improving state funding and support, as well as improving the affordability of many aspects of higher education.

Rob McKenna, the Republican candidate running for Washington governor, has a similar viewpoint. McKenna believes that further budget cuts toward higher education will be extremely detrimental to this country’s future. McKenna also stresses the need to increase the percentage of students seeking and graduating from secondary education in the state of Washington alone.

McKenna notes on his website that in Washington there are a large number of jobs that require post-secondary education, while the actual rate of attending a university or college and attaining a degree is low. These Washington jobs, McKenna reports, should be for the citizens of Washington, not any outside talents.

McKenna adds in a statement on his website that a substantial change in the accessibility at the higher education level could lead to an increase in Washington residents taking more of the higher paying jobs.

“With a more robust higher education system, more of our workforce needs could be met by our students,” he said.

Both candidates have a similar outlook on higher education and its importance to this country’s well being. These strong and valid opinions by these politicians have helped educate people on the issue of higher education funding cuts in Washington, as well as the rest of the United States.

As funding for colleges and universities has been cut, tuition has gone up, leaving many students unwilling or unable to pay for their education. This decrease in post-secondary education participants, however, has not led to a decrease in post-secondary education requirements for jobs, which creates a large gap between the number of high-qualification jobs and the number of people who meet these jobs’ eligibility requirements.

Voting in this year’s election will help determine how higher education is financed for the future.