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Rubio Discusses Higher Education, Skills Gap On Fox News

Feb 11, 2014 | Comunicados de Prensa

Rubio: “We have this rapid transformation in our economy. It is harder and harder to find a job these days if you don’t have some sort of higher education. And yet higher education has become more and more expensive.”

EL SENADOR MARCO RUBIO
FOX News’ “America’s Newsroom”
February 11, 2014
VIDEO: http://youtu.be/B8X4FheQ8oY?t=3m50s

FOX News’ Martha MacCallum: “I want to talk to you about something that I know is near and dear to your heart. You have rolled out a very large education initiative yesterday. And one of the tenets of it is that you’re hoping that there’s a way in your plan to give sort of an alternative, cheaper way to a college-level education for a wider number of people. How would you do that?”

Senator Rubio: “Well, a couple things. First of all, I think people have knowledge they have acquired by living life, by working, through volunteerism. They can acquire it by taking online courses. People should be able to get credit for that. I mean, how many people, for example, veterans, return from war knowing how to do all sorts of things, but in order to get a college degree, they’ve got to sit in the classroom and take exams and an entire course, and pay for it on something they learned doing in the military or in other aspects of life. My point is that we need to have a flexible higher education system where people can get college credit towards a degree that gives you credit for all those things.

“But we have a bigger problem. We have this rapid transformation in our economy. It is harder and harder to find a job these days if you don’t have some sort of higher education. And yet higher education has become more and more expensive, and it is completely controlled by the existing colleges and universities who play an important role, but have a monopoly in controlling access. And as a result, we have a trillion dollars in student loan debt out there.”

MacCallum: “It’s extremely expensive to go to college in this country right now. Again, I just have a couple of seconds on this, but a student investment plan that would get sort of the private financial sector involved in financing education?”  

Rubio: “It would allow students to basically have private investment groups invest in them. They pay for their education instead of taking out a loan. And in return, the student agrees, in a contract, to pay back that investment over a period of time through a percentage of how much they make. If that adds up to more than what they borrowed, then the investment group made a great investment. If it turns out less, then the investment didn’t work out. But that’s an alternative to loans. Again, the loans will still be there if that’s what they prefer to have, but I think this will really help graduate students going into engineering and the sciences, for example.”