September 29, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s Costly College Plan Upsets Those Who Know It Best: Education Professionals

This past summer, Hillary Clinton proposed an extension of her education proposal, a plan that eliminates college tuition for families who make less than $125,000 a year. The addition was forced onto her original plan, called the “New College Compact,” in an effort to pander to the extreme left wing of the party and gain the supporters of her former Democratic primary rival, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). She and Sanders even touted that plan at a joint event yesterday in New Hampshire.

But while the left is happy with Clinton’s shift, education professionals have questioned the viability of her plan. A New York Times piece this morning questions how private institutions would survive under Clinton’s plan:

“‘This is going to take a lot of money in the system and shift it,’ said Sarah Flanagan, vice president for government relations at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. ‘What happens to all that tuition money that is currently being provided by private sources? Will taxpayers really be able to replace the withdrawal of all that tuition money?’”

The New York Times piece is just another example of the backlash Clinton has received for her revised plan. Others have noted that Clinton’s plan offers few specifics and that other types of private colleges could be negatively affected:

“‘We appreciate that Mrs. Clinton understands that states are disinvesting from higher education in their states,’ said Peter McPherson, the president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, who expressed approval that a candidate was trying to broaden access to higher education in a bold way. ‘But her plan at this juncture doesn’t fill out the details.’”

Patricia McGuire, President of the private, Catholic Trinity Washington University, said that Clinton’s debt free plan puts small institutions like hers at risk:

“Elite private colleges such as Ivy League schools aren’t at risk. But some other types of private colleges — including women’s colleges, religiously affiliated institutions, and historically black colleges and universities — rely heavily on tuition. If Congress were to enact the free public college proposal, a sudden, steep drop in enrollment could put private schools like that out of business, [Patricia] McGuire said.”

Liberals may be cheering for Clinton’s revised plan, but education professionals certainly are not.