Rubio: Higher ed is a 'cartel,' needs a dramatic overhaul

Presidential candidate stresses need for industry innovation, competition

Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) slammed higher education and highlighted his proposals to revamp the industry in a speech on the economy this week.

"Our higher education system is controlled by what amounts to a cartel of existing colleges and universities, which use their power over the accreditation process to block innovative, low-cost competitors from entering the market," he told an audience of about 200 Chicago entrepreneurs.

Rubio promised to "bust" the conglomerate within his first 100 days as president by establishing a new accreditation system that allows new, low-cost providers to enter the market.

"This would expose higher education to the market forces of choice and competition, which would prompt a revolution driven by the needs of students—just as the needs of consumers drive the progress of every other industry in our economy," he says.

Rubio touted two of his proposals to make student debt easier to pay off:

  • An income-based repayment system that requires high-earning graduates to repay loans faster and gives their low-earning peers a longer timetable; and
  • Allowing investors to cover students' tuition in exchange for a percent of the graduates' earnings for a few years.

Likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has a plan that is too "outdated" and "shortsighted," he says (Peters, New York Times, 7/7; Stokols, Politico, 7/7; Lobianco, CNN, 7/7).

Thoughts on the story? Tweet us at @eab_daily and let us know.

Also see: How some Democrats want to make college 'free'

The EAB Daily Briefing has been tracking proposals from President Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), and other prominent politicians that would reduce the cost of college tuition. Here's our latest analysis of their plans.


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