DFI works to nurture a vision for long-term higher education reform that reduces the federal role in financing postsecondary education, protects taxpayers, and meets the demand for alternatives to four-year degrees.
America’s education system has become a conveyor belt for high school graduates to institutions of higher education that are alarmingly reliant on federal loans and grants. This “certainty of funding” has resulted in sharp increases in the cost of college for families. Since 1980, the first year in operation for the U.S. Department of Education, average college tuition, room, and board has increased nearly 800 percent–five times the rate of inflation. Yet, despite this vast outlay of taxpayer resources, far too many students wind up poorly educated, unprepared for careers, and heavily in debt to the federal government. The current administration’s solution is to cancel student loan debt on a blanket basis. Radical reform of federal role in higher education financing is needed.
As a condition of federal student aid, accreditation was designed by Congress to serve as the key determinant of whether a college or university provides a quality education to its students. Unfortunately, the higher education quality assurance system is broken. More focused on radical diversity, equity, and inclusion mandates than student outcomes, most accreditation agencies have become content with the status quo. At the same time, many institutions of higher education have drifted into illiberalism while accreditation agencies have sat on the sidelines or, worse, aided the drift. The time has come to take radical steps to create a quality assurance system focused on academic rigor and student outcomes—not woke education mandates.
Americans should be free to choose the life and work that is best for them. Yet, to date, federal policy has taken a “four-year-degree-or-bust” approach that has substituted college degrees for actual job skills and knowledge. The lack of short-term learning programs and apprenticeships has aggravated this trend and hindered national prosperity. DFI supports policies that increase access to short-term credentials and earn-to-learn programs, including industry recognized apprenticeships, to help workers discover passions, develop talents, and acquire needed skills to thrive in our dynamic, evolving economy.
Foreign Influence in Higher Education
Since launching in 2021, DFI has worked to expose the Federal government’s weakened oversight of efforts by foreign governments and their proxies to use generous gifts and contracts to unduly influence American education at our universities, colleges, and schools.