The Democratic National Committee (DNC) is all set to stage the first of the sanctioned candidate debates, come June and July 2019. One important topic stands out as a common proposal among candidates qualified to participate in the debates: College Affordability.
Mark Huelsman, a prominent think-tank Senior Policy Analyst, believes qualifying candidates for the debate, will likely argue on which college affordability proposal makes the most sense; or if it is even sensible at all.
A nationally recognized expert on college affordability and Asso. Director of Policy and Research at Demos, Huelsman says that during the past years, left-leaning policymakers and economists have been building a consensus that some kind of student-debt cancellation may actually be beneficial for the U.S. economy. Huelman mentioned further that
“You’re going to see some pretty bold proposals on debt relief or debt cancellation from candidates.”
Only one candidate thinks that free college tuition or debt-free college is not viable. Minnesota Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar said
“I wish — if I were a magic genie and could give that to everyone and we could afford it, I would.”
College Affordability Proposals Backed or Mulled on by Democratic Presidential Candidates
College affordability proposals come in 7 topics: Tuition-Free College, Debt-
Free College, Student Loan Servicer Regulation, For-Profit College Regulation, Student-Loan Refinancing, Debt Relief and College Accountability. Of the 7 proposals, only Tuition-Free College and Debt-Free College have definite plans for whom and on how they will be carried out.
This proposal vows free tuition for all, regardless of financial need; allowing students with low income or coming from low-income households to actually have a chance to participate. Free-college for all intends to include those coming from wealthier families as it may attract political buy-ins that would make the program work.
Bernie Sanders, Vermont’s longest serving Independent Senator, will continue to push the tuition-free education in public colleges that he unveiled previously in the 2016 elections. His proposal includes imposing taxes on institutions involved in investments trading of stocks, bonds and their derivatives, as a way of raising government funds for the program.
Although similar to the Tuition-Free College proposal, it has a different context as embodied in the Debt-Free College Act of 2018 introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), along with House Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin-2). The proposed bill aims to create a new partnership between federal and state governments, focused on providing funds to the country’s neglected system of public colleges. The goal is to provide students with free and flexible training, without having to worry about steep tuition fees or onerous student loans.
Here, students from working-class families will have priority, and will extend to students coming from public and private Minority Serving Institutions. The Debt-Free College Act will also restore eligibility of non-violent drug offenders.
Current Democratic presidential candidates who co-sponsored this bill include Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.).