Virginia Primary: Education issues on students' minds

By Ja’Kari Whitfield-Taylor

As the Republican presidential candidates prepare for Super Tuesday, students in Virginia and across the country, look to each political party’s views on education as the deciding factor on their votes for the 2012 presidential election.

For college students, the candidate’s education policies are a major factor in who they vote for.

“If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down,” said President Barack Obama during the State of the Union address last month. “Higher education can’t be a luxury – it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford,”

This statement piqued the interests of many college students across the country, including some Hampton University students.

“I pay for school primarily through loans and work study so my education is definitely a luxury,” said Arriel Cooper, a 5-year MBA major from Chicago. “With tuition on a steady increase I may have to take a semester off to work and save money, Hopefully, Obama’s new education policy gets passed. It will make college less stressful.”

Dustin DeMary, a psychology major from Portsmouth, Va., said, “I mean, I support it but I don’t really go with it because I’m not paying for tuition and everything else I pay out of pocket. For those who do have to pay for loans and stuff like that, it will help them out in the long run because he’s cutting the interest rates.”

When several HU students were asked if they knew of education proposals of any of the GOP presidential candidates, their answers were unanimous “Nos.” Some students said they didn’t know who the candidates were.

The Virginia Primary is among 10 primaries and caucuses being held on “Super Tuesday,” March 6. Only two of the GOP candidates will participate: Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. 

All other candidates – including Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich didn’t meet the 10,000 signature requirements needed to qualify for the primary.

The writer is a student at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications