Currently, if you count student loans in with the Department of Education budget, it adds up to a figure second only to the Department of Defense. We're talking a lot of money.
For a budget of about a billion or two, I can give everyone in the US a 'free' college education, open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week.
Anybody interested in the how?
It's really very simple.
Every year, thousands of teachers go on spring break and sit at home with nothing to do. I suggest we open a competition. Let them write their own schoolbooks, based on how they have had to explain things to classrooms that just didn't get how it was explained in the book. The top five in each subject win a million dollars, get their work sent to a ghost writer to convert it to a digital format (Kindle, Nook, Apple, etc) and post it as a free download next year.
A billion dollars every year, spent like this, would make hundreds of great, but under appreciated, teachers millionaires, while giving the public access to their brilliance on every course imaginable. About 500 to 1,000 new text books every year would flood the market.
Now, just reading junk off the internet doesn't mean you're smart, and it wouldn't look as good as Harvard on a resume.
Back to all those empty schools every summer and the thousands of teachers with nothing to do (the less than brilliant ones that aren't making millions writing books). They can administer tests to validate someone's 'e-learned credentials' at, say $100 a test to prove they know what they know.
This would put higher education into the hands of anyone that could afford an E-reader of any kind, had a laptop and an internet connection, or a cell-phone with a free app.
But, unfortunately, that's not what this President is talking about.
Colleges give large donations to politicians. Politicians pass laws that make it easier for people to take out house-sized loans (they aren't qualified for) for a 4yr education. This is your basic money laundering operation, and it is the main reason why tuition has doubled over the years.
It's big money. Big business. And the only way to break the cycle is to go the Kahn university way.
I would cut the budget of The Department of Education down to two billion a year and reward a lot of great, under-appreciated teachers by turning them into millionaires.