Democratic Presidential Race: Higher Education Reform
Iowa caucusing ended last Monday and New Hampshire is just around the corner. For the Democratic candidates, selling their policy ideas on college reform to voters is key to get a voting demographic. But never mind the presidential hopefuls. We might see college reform in the next year from our current president.
President Obama reiterated in his State of the Union address that he would be pushing his legislation, America’s College Promise Act, for free community college tuition.
Tennessee and Oregon are two states that already offer free community college but with the president’s legislation, community colleges across the entire country would become tuition free.
“But what’s the catch,” you might ask.
Here’s how it checks out. First of all, you have to maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher to qualify. One must be enrolled for at least half-time or full-time. Finally, one has to make “steady progress toward completing their program,” according to the plan.
The federal government would pay for 75% of tuition for students while states pay the other 25%. The plan would cost $60 billion a year, according to the legislation.
Bernie Sanders is looking to be our next president and his platform includes a plan for free four-year university and community college tuition. In his legislation, College for All Act, Sanders is looking to cover student tuition two-thirds by the federal government and the remaining one-third by the states. This plan would cost $47 billion a year, according to the legislation.
Sanders plan would also cut student loan interest in half and keep the rate from rising over 8.25%. Sanders wants to pay for the plan with a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street. This would impose a speculation fee on hedge funds, investment houses, and other speculators.
Hillary Clinton is running on a plan that targets student debt. Clinton’s plan would reward colleges that can guarantee their students wouldn’t be left with debt. Clinton would give grants to these colleges that complied. The total cost of Clinton’s plan is about $35 billion a year.
What legislation would you like to see? Tweet @thefrontonline and let us know.