Thursday, September 4, 2008

GOP Platform on Higher Education

The party platform Republicans approved this week in St. Paul provides red meat to conservative voters, decrying the "leftist dogmatism that dominates" many colleges and opposing efforts to provide education benefits to some illegal immigrants, a break once strongly advocated by John McCain.

In another difference with Senator McCain's positions, the platform advocates a total ban on research using embryonic stem cells. Senator McCain has said he supports federal financing of programs that use amniotic fluid and adult stem cells and "other types of scientific study that do not involve the use of human embryos." As a senator, Mr. McCain has voted in favor of allowing research on human embryos left over from fertility treatments.

On other fronts, the platform document singles out for praise colleges that spend more of their endowment funds on student aid, a cause championed by some Congressional Republicans, and calls for a presidential commission to examine the "tuition spiral." And it acknowledges the key role that higher education must play in maintaining the United States' innovative edge in an increasingly competitive global economy.

Unlike the policy statement approved last week by Democrats at their convention in Denver, the Republican platform says little about expanding student aid, even as it decries the increase in college costs. Instead, it notes Republicans' past advocacy of measures to provide tax incentives for families to save for college and expresses support for private lenders in the student-loan marketplace.

See The Chronicle's story, by Karin Fischer, for more details about the Republican platform's provisions related to higher education.

No comments: