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The Issue of ‘Free’ College Will Take Center Stage in 2020 Dem Primary

The Issue of ‘Free’ College Will Take Center Stage in 2020 Dem Primary

“candidates are responding to what some say is a crisis in college affordability”

Democratic candidates running for 2020 will fall all over themselves proposing ways to make college free and cancel student loan debt.

The Associated Press reports:

2020 race brings free college back to the national stage

After receding from the national stage, the free college movement is resurfacing as a central rallying point for Democrats as they set their sights on the White House.

At least 18 of the party’s 23 presidential contenders have come out in support of some version of free college . Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts promises free tuition at public colleges and universities. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota says it should be limited to two years of community college. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York wants to provide free tuition in exchange for public service.

The candidates are responding to what some say is a crisis in college affordability, an issue likely to draw attention in the first primary debates later this month. Year after year, colleges say they have to raise tuition to offset state funding cuts. Students have shouldered the cost by taking out loans, pushing the country’s student debt to nearly $1.6 trillion this year. Even for many in the middle class, experts say, college is increasingly moving out of reach.

Free college, a catchall term for a range of affordability plans, is increasingly seen as a solution. Nearly 20 states now promise some version of free college, from Tennessee’s free community college program to New York’s Excelsior Scholarship, which offers up to four years of free tuition at state schools for residents with family incomes below $125,000 a year.


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There is a “crisis” in college affordability, and this a simultaneously a band-aid on the acute problem and supercharging the chronic problem – that there is too much money of a specific color (college only) from many sources driving rates up.

amatuerwrangler | June 19, 2019 at 11:10 am

As with the public K-12 schools, government money going in ends up going out in teachers’ paychecks. If colleges were bothered by high tuition (which they don’t seem to be) they would reduce faculty pay and stop creating new majors, even eliminating those that led to no productive post graduation employment.

Nearly 60 years ago I went to community college — then called junior college — for “free”, if you don’t count books and supplies. They finally started charging $50 per semester as too many “students” were just hanging out rather than pursuing education and eating up classroom seats and instructor time. Free college today would get the same result as far as “hanging out”, not that it is not already occurring.