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Hillary Clinton’s higher ed plan: Something (expensive) for everyone

August 28, 2015

By Andrew P. Kelly

Hillary Clinton’s higher education plan is extensive and expensive.

The plan contains multitudes (almost every idea proposed in the past five years is in there somewhere—some of which are good). But most of the good ideas are window dressing for what is, first and foremost, a call for more resources. Clinton would spend $350 billion over ten years on a laundry list of priorities designed to bring the price of college down. The plan includes: Grants to states that pledge to invest more of their own money in public colleges and universities; grants to institutions (public and private) that enroll low-income students; lower interest rates for student loan borrowers; interest subsidies for existing borrowers that “refinance” their loans; more spending on childcare for student-parents; and more.

Yes, some of the $350 billion would have strings attached, but most of those strings are themselves about spending more money. In order to access “incentive grants,” states would have to guarantee “no-loan” tuition at four-year public college (and free tuition at two-year colleges) by “[halting] disinvestment in higher education” and “[ramping] up that investment over time.” States, in turn, would only distribute federal grant funds to colleges that demonstrate they can meet the debt-free tuition requirement and contain costs.

Set aside the fact that simply pumping more money into the system won’t solve quality problems and may well inflate college spending further, no matter how tight the new rules. What’s especially odd, given Clinton’s effort to cast herself as a Progressive, is where much of that new spending will go: to upper-income students who would go to college anyway.

Read the full article at the American Enterprise Institute: Hillary Clinton’s higher ed plan: Something (expensive) for everyone

Issue Categories : Education, Hillary Clinton