I came to this country over 20 years ago to get a world class education. An affordable college education is the great equalizer in our society, and what lets a child from a poor family become a financially successful adult. It’s what enabled me to live the American Dream.
We need to restore this opportunity that recent budget cuts have taken away from students. I have a four point plan to ensure that college graduates will not be buried under a mountain of debt that they will be paying back for the rest of their lives.
First, I commend Congress for finally agreeing to keep interest rates on student loans low, but we need to make this policy permanent.
Second, colleges and universities receiving federal funds should be required to cap tuition increases for four years until graduation at the rate of inflation, so students know how much their education will cost. We need to end the 15-30 percent annual increases that have meant the cost of the senior year can be double what students expected when they applied for admission.
Third, I propose increasing funding for Pell Grants to make college more accessible to students from low and middle income families, and to reduce the debt burden for graduating seniors.
Finally, I propose that colleges and universities receiving federal funds cap administrator compensation. There’s no reason a university president should make more than the President of the United States, or that students should be asked to pay for exorbitant salaries.
American universities have been home to much of this country’s finest research. We need to increase funding for scientific research grants, through agencies like the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, so universities can use these funds to reduce costs to students, and the nation can invest in the intellectual and human capital needed to keep the United States the greatest nation in the world.
Darshan Rauniyar, an entrepreneur and small business owner in Bothell, is a candidate for Congress in Washington’s 1st District