Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, said:
What voters are looking for is someone to be a champion for everyday
people. For young people, that's debt-free college.
"Debt-free" college? Is that something like "free" public schooling?
A Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Demos policy paper describes how public higher education could be made "debt-free" across the nation.
Imagine "debt-free" housing across the country. Would that be something like "free" (ahem, "federally subsidized") housing? That really worked out well in St. Louis, Chicago, New York and other major urban locales, didn't it?
The basic idea is that the federal government will reward states--send taxpayer $$$s their way--that increase spending on higher education, thus reducing the need for students to take out loans, and boost need-based aid programs like the Pell Grant. But, to avoid the trap of being portrayed as providing young people "free" tuition, the plan will have students face no more in unmet need than they could reasonably make up for by holding a full-time summer job or a part-time job during the school year.
Okay. So, what normally constitutes "spending" money will instead go toward tuition rather than toward fall and spring break bacchanalia.
In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama set the table by touting a free community college proposal. His plan would make those two years of postsecondary education universal, just like high school. But, what the President was really doing securing the foundation for a larger scheme: Four years of "debt-free" college sometime down the road. "Incrementalism" it's called. And, it appears, 2016 is far enough down the road insofar as Hillary is concerned.
Polticially, what this plan seeks to do is to target low- and middle- income students who currently aren't attending any college and those who are going into debt but have not earned an associate's or bachelor's degree. This demographic contains a goodly number of votes that could prove essential to the winner of the 2016 presidential election.
Unfortunately, what many in that demographic don't realize is that they will be paying those taxpayer $$$s for the rest of their lives, not only for their "debt-free" public degree but also for everyone else who is going to take advantage of "free" public higher education. Going into debt today to the tune of $30k for a degree is a whole lot less--33% less--than paying $1k/year in additional taxes for the next 40 years.
In the end, there is no "debt-free" public college or "free" public education. It's time for that demographic to smell the coffee, do the math, and wise up before they're on the hook for what's in the fine print in Hillary's plan.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the Inside Higher Ed article, click on the following link: