The Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders campaigns have teamed up to combine the two candidates’ plans to make higher education affordable in a commendable compromise that might finally lead to real change in our country. Since the beginning of the race, both candidates have been determined to fight for affordable college and university tuition, but they have had a few key disagreements. Sanders wanted free tuition for all public colleges, while Clinton focused on refinancing student debt and investing in cheaper forms of higher education. The new plan slashes tuition fees and addresses existing student debt.
Clinton famously criticized Sanders’s plan by saying, “I am not in favor of making college free for Donald Trump’s kids.” In other words, she did not want to introduce universal free tuition because it would amount to a government subsidy for the rich who don’t need one.
Now Clinton has adopted some of Sanders’s free tuition pledges; she will make tuition free for around 80% of Americans but introduce an income cap on free tuition so the richest Americans still have to pay “by making in-state colleges and university free for students from families making $85,000 a year or less. That income threshold would then climb by $10,000 a year until 2021, when in-state schools would then be free to all families who make $125,000 or less.” She reiterated her original promises to close tax loopholes and use the $350 billion saved over a ten year period to refinance student debt to unprecedented low interest rates. She also says she will make it impossible for the government to profit off of student loans.
She also has announced a three-month moratorium on student loan payments to all federal borrowers and would make Pell Grants available all throughout the year, which would help students get funding for summer classes.
Sanders called the joint college affordability plan, “a revolutionary step forward for higher education.” He announced,
“I want to take this opportunity to applaud Secretary Clinton for the very bold initiative she has just brought forth today for the financing of higher education. This proposal combines some of the strongest ideas she fought for during the campaign with some of the principles that I fought for. The final product is a result of the work of both campaigns.”
We are glad to see the Democrats uniting through compromises, and we hope that the proposed plan will carry extra weight now that it has been endorsed by both candidates. Student debt is an urgent issue, and we must take Clinton-Sanders compromise and run with it.
The American people hold a staggering 1.3 trillion dollars in student debt – a number that rises by $2,700 every second. Outlandish college tuitions that keeps rising every single year are halfheartedly defended by administrators claiming that increasing costs reflect inflation. However, according to Professor Ray Franke from the University of Massachusetts, “If you look at the long-term trend, [college tuition] has been rising almost six percent above the rate of inflation.” In the decade from 2004 to 2014, average student debt grew at a rate almost twice that of the cumulative inflation rate.
Clinton and Sanders have offered America away forward, now it’s time for the voters to say that they are committed to change that will allow young Americans to build the country’s future.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.