Experts Robert Shireman and Donald Heller Discuss the Feasibility and Meaning of Clinton’s Tuition Free Proposal (Video)

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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