A policy conference was hosted by the Millennial Advocacy Council on Friday to discuss higher education in the United States

The conference took place at the Eisenhower Building and featured panels on workforce development, modernization, and general themes surrounding higher education in the nation.

The panel on higher education included Eric Brakey, Maine senator; and Tom Garret, Virginia senator, as well as the President of an organization promoting liberty for American youth, Cliff Maloney.

The discussion began with Senator Brakey, who brought up the issue of severe student debt as well as the social, cultural expectations young adults face to pursue a college education and attain a degree.

Panel raises important issues about how college education is perceived today

Brakey stated that the current generation of young adults are dealing with an enormous amount of debt as a result of exorbitant student loans, and are dealing with loans that are as large as home-owner mortgages but without any benefits or assets aside from a degree.

Brakey brought up the issue of “inherited belief”, that students today do not believe they will be able to obtain a stable, well-paying job without possessing a college degree. This belief also bolsters students to willingly acquire hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt with the surety that after graduation, a job is guaranteed.

Senator Garret echoed Brakey’s sentiments, stating that student loan debt is “crippling”, and raising the question if students are actually taught appropriate skills for the jobs of the future rather than the jobs of the past.

Maloney brought up the issue of free speech on university campuses, stating that his organization aims to ensure that any and every belief and ideology are heard on college campuses and that free speech is not restricted in any form in colleges.