Higher education

Clinton reveals $350 billion proposal to curb tuition prices and student debt

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a townhall-style meeting about her college affordability plan, in Exeter, N.H., Aug. 10, 2015. (Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist/The New York Times)

In what Senator Marco Rubio is calling, “Obamacare for college,” Hillary Clinton unveiled a $350 billion plan aimed at curbing tuition prices and the student debt that comes with higher education. And Rubio isn’t Clinton’s only potential 2016 rival who’s been critical of the proposal. Since 2004, tuition for in-state students at public colleges have increased 40 percent on average nationwide, and America’s outstanding student loan debt is over $1.2 trillion. Those are sobering statistics. Half of Clinton’s proposed plan’s funding would go to grants for states that guarantee students need not take out loans to cover tuition at public colleges and universities, provided that the states also slow tuition growth without cutting their higher education budgets. A third of the funding for the plan would be used to reduce interest rates on new or existing student loans for public and private education, a move that would cost the government additional billions in lost profits from student loans. Jeffrey A. Engel, director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University, says that the plan would be difficult to pass, and if it were to pass could face difficulties similar to what faced Obamacare with progressive states embracing funding and conservative states refusing it. The election may still be a long way off, but Clinton’s ambitious proposal makes education a cornerstone platform in her upcoming campaign.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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