November 7, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton proposes that all public colleges and universities be made tuition-free for students from families with incomes of up to $85,000 initially, rising to $125,000 by 2021. Clinton also promises a three-month moratorium for all federal student loan borrowers on repaying their debt, during which time borrowers would get help refinancing their loans or moving into income-driven repayment plans. According to her campaign, 80 percent of American families would be able to avoid tuition at public colleges and universities under the plan. This is a revised approach from what Clinton first proposed that sought differentiation from rival Bernie Sanders by not promising to make higher education free (or even debt-free) for everyone. The cost of the revised program is not yet clear but would be fully funded, according to her campaign, through closing additional high-income tax loopholes -- focusing on loopholes available especially to Wall Street money managers, like hedge funds and private equity firms.
In a CSHE event co-sponsored with the Institute of Governmental Studies, Robert Shireman and Donald Heller discussed the feasibility of the plan, the politics of it becoming a reality, and alternative paths for achieving similar goals. Moderated by CSHE senior research fellow, John Douglass, one possible outcome of the proposal would be a substantially increased federal role in funding public higher education. 
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