Strengthening Higher Education: Simplify Student Aid & Emphasize Vital Science, Math, and Language Skills

Peter Berkowitz
Peter Berkowitz Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University

February 28, 2007

As America relies more on minority workers, African-American and Latino students are lagging behind their white peers and dropping out of school at higher rates. This loss of human capital takes a toll on the entire country. The nation’s higher education system must be improved with streamlined student aid procedures and increased emphasis on math, science, and language studies.

For higher education, the next President should mount a determined effort, in concert with states and local school districts, to boost the academic performance of low achievers by:

  • make college education more attainable for low-income students by simplifying the grants process and reducing inefficiency in the distribution of financial aid
  • encourage universities that receive federal dollars to fashion responsible ways to measure student progress and track college costs
  • create federally funded fellowships in biology, chemistry, and physics that require recipients, after graduation, to teach high school for one to four years
  • create a signature program of federally funded fellowships not only to support students who study critical foreign languages, but also to build much-needed capacity within the Departments of State, Education, and Defense

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