Democratic Party Platform Highlights Obama Higher Education, Student Loan Reforms

Delegates wave banners reading 'Forward' and 'No Back' during Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel speech at the Time Warner Cable Ar
Delegates wave banners reading 'Forward' and 'No Back' during Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel speech at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 4, 2012 on the first day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC). The DNC is expected to nominate US President Barack Obama to run for a second term as president. AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/GettyImages)

The Democratic party mentioned education throughout their party platform, which was unveiled on Monday, routinely bragged about President Obama's reform efforts. At the same time, the party was not shy about attacking Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney over his alternate vision.

"The Republicans in Congress and Mitt Romney have a very different idea about where they want to take this country. To pay for their trillions in additional tax cuts weighted towards millionaires and billionaires, they'll raise taxes on the middle class and gut our investments in education, research and technology," the platform states.

The party platform promotes the reform of the federal student loan program, the increased funding to Pell Grants and the new income based repayment option for federal loans. It's a stark contrast to the Republican platform, which called for a roll back of the student loan reform to funnel money back through private banks.

Democrats also hit Republicans on another one of their planks -- taking on for-profit colleges.

"We Democrats have focused on making sure that taxpayer dollars support high-quality education programs, but Mitt Romney is a staunch supporter of expensive, for-profit schools—schools that often leave students buried in debt and without the skills for quality jobs and that prey on our servicemembers and veterans," the Democratic platform states.

Multiple investigations and reports by the Government Accountability Office, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the U.S. Senate and other federal agencies have found for-profit colleges routinely use deceptive marketing practices, leave students deep in debt without a high chance of finding work, and receive much of their revenue through federal student aid.

A recent analysis by The Huffington Post found for-profit colleges have spent nearly $40 million lobbying since 2007, and much of it to the benefit of Republicans.

Romney has offered praise of for-profits as innovators, while receiving hefty donations from some of their executives.

The Democratic platform echoed another attack line from the Obama campaign about Romney's statements on higher education.

"Tuition at public colleges has soared over the last decade and students are graduating with more and more debt," the platform went on to say, "but Mitt Romney thinks students should 'shop around' for the 'best education they can afford.' And he supports the radical House Republican budget that would cut financial aid for more than one million students while giving tax cuts to the rich."

The Obama campaign is running an ad in swing states specifically about Romney's comments on "shopping around" for a cheap education and encouraging students to borrow money from their parents to attend college.

The Democratic platform also mentions support of tax credits for families with children in college, the Affordable Care Act provision which allows young adults to stay on their parents' health care, and reinforces Obama's goal of having the world's highest proportion of college graduates by 2020. It cites utilizing community colleges more, especially in partnerships with private businesses and in job training.

The 2012 Democratic platform also supports same-sex marriage rights and calls for the need to address the very real threat of global warming.




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