Sen. Marco Rubio proposed a set of education reforms on Monday, outlining a policy plan that could be part of the Florida Republican’s 2016 platform.
The proposal rollout at Miami-Dade College marks the Florida senator's second major policy speech in as many months. While Rubio has not declared whether or not he’s running in 2016, he is widely seen to be positioning himself for a presidential bid.
Monday's proposals tackled the cost of higher education. It’s a topic Rubio knows well; three years ago when the Republican came to the Senate, he had more than $100,000 of student debt. (He has since paid off this debt with the proceeds of his 2012 book, An American Son.)
“We must create alternatives to our current system of accessing and paying for higher education,” he said according to The Hill.
In the speech, he proposes allowing private investors to pay for tuition in exchange for receiving a portion of the student’s future earnings as an alternative to debt.
He also pushed the plan he and Oregon Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden have proposed, which would give students data on their expected debt and future earnings and set up repayment plan based on their income.
The speech comes on the heels of Rubio’s January address outlining a conservative plan to combat poverty, another issue that could help sell Rubio to more moderate and Independent voters.
It may be a crucial sell for a 2016 ticket, as Rubio lost stock with conservatives last year when he pushed for immigration reform. It’s also a key part of GOP’s counteroffensive on Democrats’ focus on income inequality.
But in polls--even in Rubio's home state of Florida--the senator's 2016 prospects don't stand out. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, another one of the state's political darling, scored better than Rubio in a recent poll of the state, though former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would trump the both of them.