I am reading with great interest the various proposals for “free college” or “debt-free college” offered by some candidates running for president. The proposals seem grandiose and impractical to me, but maybe I am missing something.
Before anyone gets too excited about these plans, maybe we should begin asking all candidates the following questions.
- What is the annual amount of the Federal Pell Grant?
- What is the maximum Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for a student that qualifies for the Federal Pell Grant?
- When was the last time the Federal Pell Grant was increased?
I think we should try to determine if any of these candidates actually know anything about needy families, federal financial aid and the challenges ahead.
I am betting that these candidates have pretty limited first-hand knowledge about needy students and federal financial aid. And, I think they know even less about higher ed. and higher ed. financing, etc.
I think they are focused on what polls well and what sounds good to the voters they’ve targeted. I don’t think any of their vaguely described plans will see the light of day.
I might be wrong, but I long for a single, dogged reporter to ask these questions until they get answers from the candidates themselves. I am not interested in hearing from policy hacks, I want to hear from the candidates.
So, please help me find a reporter who will ask these questions until they get an answer.
I’ve thought about trolling a couple of campaigns in my bow-tie and blazer with a sandwich board with the questions, but my handwriting is pretty bad and I am not sure I’d ever get called on.
But, I do promise that if I see any of the candidates while they are campaigning in Davenport, I am going to ask.
W. Kent Barnds a.k.a. @bowtieadmission