In this essay, the May-Can-Should model is applied in the context of educational policy and the problem of the increase in the cost of higher education. It explains the ways the College Affordability Act attempts to solve the issue and why it should be passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate and signed by the President. In particular, it discusses how inalienable rights, natural law, institutional separation of Church and State, and sphere sovereignty help determine if the government is the appropriate sphere to address the issue. It examines the political figures who support the bill and its powers in the constitutional aspect. Apart from it, it lists the budgetary constraints and costs of implementation of physical resources, workforce, needed to implement policy, and practical challenges associated with it.
Education has deep and broad roots that pass through almost every aspect of society. Currently, there is a concern about the increase in its cost of it. (Kraft & Furlong, 2017). On October 15, 2019, House Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott introduced the College Affordability Act (CAA) (116th Congress, 2019). Specifically, it revises federal student financial aid programs, consolidates student loans, and expands their forgiveness. The CAA must be adopted from several aspects, including biblical, constitutional, political, and financial.
The government exists to ensure justice and protect inalienable rights. According to natural law, all authority comes from God, who is the supreme source of truth and power (“The Book of Romans”, n.d.). The state can use the control given by God only to prevent crimes that are related to violations of inalienable rights. Meanwhile, the Church aims to eliminate rest types of sins; therefore, these two institutions are separate. (Fischer, 2020). Thus, the government is an appropriate area to address the issue, thereby protecting their inalienable rights.
In addition, according to the US Constitution, there is a priority of the individual over society and the state, with particular attention paid to inalienable human rights. The right to education is one of the second generations of human rights. The UN Committee identifies among the main characteristics of the right to education as its accessibility. (“General Comment No. 13”, n.d.). As a result, the bill’s mandate to promote more accessible education is constitutionally and legally justified.
A considerable number of public associations welcome this bill and offer their support. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) also announced it for the CAA (“Renewing the Higher Education Act”, n.d.). However, the CEC questioned the data collection changes that could be burdensome for higher education institutions (“CEC weighs in on House Higher Education Act “, 2019). In this regard, the bill will be signed by the President if unnecessary complexity and some requirements are resolved.
The estimated budgetary constraints primarily relate to changes in repayment options for federal student loan programs. It will increase direct spending on it by $169.9 billion and other programs by $78.8 billion over the 2020-2029 period (116th Congress, 2019). Apart from it, financial aspects are associated with an increase in the maximum amount of Pell Grant. However, these costs are justified as higher education is considered essential for a competitive workforce and for sustaining economic growth.
Since the CAA is also expanding access to Pell Grant for undocumented students, it will need to be legalized to implement the policy. It is outside the House of Representatives’ purview and the Labor Committee, which creates practical complexity. Besides simplifying repayment, the CAA creates two repayment plans – a fixed refund and a new income-based. It will require additional physical resources and a financial workforce.
To summarize, the CAA must be adopted for several reasons. First, according to the structure, the government is an appropriate area to address the increase in college tuition fees for students because it thereby protects their inalienable rights. Moreover, the bill’s mandate is constitutionally and legally justified, while politicians express their support. However, its adoption would demand a resolution of the unnecessary complexity of some of the requirements.
The Book of Romans. (n.d.). Bible gateway. Web.
116th Congress. (2019). H.R.4674 – College Affordability Act. Web.
CEC weighs in on House Higher Education Act reauthorization. (2019). Policy Insider. Web.
Fischer, K. J. (2020). Biblical principles of government and criminal justice. Liberty university journal of statesmanship & public policy, 1(3), 1-13. Web.
General Comment No. 13: The right to education (article 13) (1999) (n.d.) The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Web.
Kraft, M. E., & Furlong, S. R. (2017). Public policy: Politics, analysis, and alternatives. CQ Press.
Renewing the Higher Education Act. (n.d.) American Council on Education. Web.