Yesterday Hillary Clinton unveiled a $350 billion plan to address college affordability. The plan addresses the cost of college at four year public institutions, makes low interest loans and grants more widely available, and would allow more people to take advantage of repayment plans based on their income levels.
According to USA Today:
“The multi-pronged plan includes giving grants to states to make them partners in a pledge that no student should have to take out a loan to pay for tuition if attending a four-year public college in their state. It would require students to help pay their way through school by contributing based on what they earn from 10 hours of work per week. And, echoing a plan already proposed by President Obama, students would be able to attend community college for free.”
“Clinton’s plan would slash the rates on student loans to a level where the government doesn’t make money from them, a move she claims would lead to savings of tens of billions of dollars over the next decade for student borrowers, put in place a fund to assist private colleges that target students of color or a large number of lower-income students, and bolster the G.I. bill that came into place after the Sept. 11 terror attacks to help veterans secure an education.”
“The $350 billion price tag covers a 10-year period and would be financed by more affluent taxpayers who would see a drop in possible tax deductions. Roughly $175 billion would cover the grants to states and schools, while another third would target student debt, providing relief by letting borrowers refinance student loans at current low interest rates, and enabling more Americans to enroll in repayment plans based on their wages.”
In unveiling this plan, Hillary Clinton positions herself against her Democratic rivals. Bernie Sanders has proposed free college education at public institutions that would be financed by a transaction tax on Wall Street trades. Sanders has even introduced a bill, “the College for All Act,” to make four year public institutions tuition free. Martin O’Malley has proposed increasing Pell grants and automatically enrolling borrowers in income-based repayment plans. O’Malley also wants to help students and parents refinance their debts at lower interest rates.
On the GOP side, both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio criticized Clinton’s college affordability plan because of the tax increases that would fund it.
College affordability is shaping up to be a key issue for the Democrats, and it’s an issue that will help them reach out to younger and middle class voters.