July 8, 2016
By Andrew Kelly
Months ago, in the midst of her Democratic primary fight with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton made it a point to argue that her “debt-free” college plan was more responsible than Bernie Sanders’ promise of tuition-free four-year college. As Clinton herself argued—repeatedly—she doesn’t want to give Donald Trump’s kids free college, and asking middle and upper income families to pay something ensured that “everyone had ‘skin in the game.’”
Yesterday, in a bid to woo Sanders supporters, Clinton tacked left, promising tuition-free public college to families earning less than $125,000 by 2021 (in the first year, families earning $85,000 or less could expect to get free tuition, and the plan would ramp up over time). The mechanics of the plan seem to be the same as they were last summer (and the same as Bernie’s plan): the feds would use a large infusion of new money to incentivize states to spend more of their own money on public higher education. To get access to the federal money, states would have to match federal dollars at a specified rate and then commit to charging families below an income threshold no tuition. Clinton’s latest announcement would significantly increase the federal contribution to this federal-state “partnership.”
Clinton also announced that she will impose a three-month moratorium on federal loan repayment, billing the freeze as an opportunity for the feds to help borrowers consolidate loans, get enrolled in income-based repayment or access other help and to crack down on loan servicers. She reiterated her promise to allow borrowers to refinance their loans in a speech to the National Education Association: “I want everyone to be able to refinance your student loans, so you never have to pay more than you can afford.” And she proposed reinstating year-round Pell Grants, an idea with bipartisan backing that makes good sense.
Read the full article at Forbes.com: Hillary Clinton Tacks Left On Higher Ed