Regardless of which political party they identify with or which presidential candidate they support, poll after poll has found what millennials really want: affordable education and more job opportunities.
Two conservative women’s organizations — the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) and the Network of enlightened Women (NeW) — have recently released a set of 17 policy reforms aimed at improving the circumstances of young Americans, without suggesting the government give anything away for “free.”
“The goal behind Working for Young Women is to highlight to millennials how there are better policies that will provide them with more and better opportunities,” said IWF managing director Carrie Lukas. “Instead of creating top-down reforms or expanding government programs, policymakers need better policies that create the conditions for a growing economy that offers a variety of jobs, make life more affordable, and help young people get on sound financial footing so they can plan for the future.”
Among the 17 suggested policy reforms included in the report, there are several proposals that address college affordability and student loan debt.
The report combats plans to make college tuition-free, which would shift costs to taxpayers, and would not necessarily improve graduation rates.
“While proposals to make college tuition-free may be well-intended, the reality is that these plans would destroy the important incentives that help students make responsible decisions and hold colleges accountable to their customers,” the report says.
Instead, the report proposes policies that would hold colleges accountable for their spending habits and for the students who default on their loans; drive competition through affordable online learning options; and create “Education Savings Accounts” that could be used for K-12 education, college, and beyond. The report also suggests allowing private lenders to set a market-based pricing system for interest rates on student loans, and amending the tax code to allow employers to offer a tax-free educational debt-repayment benefit.
The report is an expanded version of IWF’s Working for Women report released earlier this year. It also includes proposals to reform the health care system, and ensure equal pay and affordable child care. Some of the recommendations include:
– Create “Personal Care Accounts” to encourage employees to save for leave time
– Repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act
– Unlink health insurance from employment
– Eliminate regulations that make day care expensive
– Strengthen equal pay protections
Read more here.
“This report offers students a different approach than what they normally hear on campus on everything from higher education to the economy,” said NeW Founder Karin Agness. “These policies are about returning power to individuals and creating a more flexible, dynamic society.”