Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will announce her new proposals this week to change the payment options of higher education, following the lead put forth by Senator Bernie Sanders earlier in the electoral race.
Her plans include including tuition-free enrollment at in-state public universities for students of families making up to $85,000 per year. Over the four years after her plan is put into action, the benchmark will raise from $85,000 to $125,000 per year, affecting almost 80 percent of American families. An aide to the campaign added that the new education plan is the result of conversations with Senator Sanders. Clinton had previously criticized the plan, but now follows the initiative set forth by her Democratic Primary rival.
It seems like such an obvious solution for students and their families who are struggling with the enormous costs associated with getting just a bachelor’s degree.
See Also: Student Debt and the 2016 Presidential Election
The burden of Clinton’s new education plan will primarily fall on the taxpayer, however. As has been seen before, the government subsidies of tuition through student loans has led to a proportionate rise in the cost of the tuition itself.
That’s because when schools think that they will receive roughly the same enrollment because some students are getting government subsidies, they have no incentive to lower the cost of the total education. Through the model Clinton has put forward, with even fewer students paying tuition either directly or through loans, colleges might subsequently increase their in state-tuitions, which will leave both the average taxpayer of that state, as well as families above the $125,000 income level to carry this heavier burden.
While each state would have the option of participating in the program, Clinton is focusing on shifting the primary burden of financial responsibility onto the federal government.  This, then, could lead to citizens paying taxes for a plan they have no involvement or stake in.
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In theory, free education for those who cannot afford college sounds like a great idea. However, students from low income families have already very often had much of their tuition covered through Pell Grants and other financial aid opportunities—and college tuition has only been rising across the board in response.
That’s not exactly ideal for anyone.
By expanding on government aid and offering this free tuition to students from families with incomes up to $125,000, Clinton increases the role of the federal government’s involvement in public education, as well as substantiating the burden on taxpayers and anyone who will have to shoulder higher tuition costs.