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Stronger together?: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former rival Senator Bernie Sanders have locked arms on free college. But it still doesn't mean it's a good idea. the false Promise of "free college" HILLARY CLINTON WON'T BE ABLE TO BRING TUITION DOWN TO ZERO. BUT IF SHE'S WILLING TO BE RADICAL, SHE CAN MAKE COLLEGE AFFORDABLE FOR ALL. By Iris Palmer n his unexpectedly strong campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders won the loyalty of millions of young voters with a promise of "free college for all." Hillary Clinton campaigned on a more modest proposal to achieve "debt-free" college. But earlier this summer, to win Sanders's support after all but clinching the nomination, Clinton announced her own, similar plan for free in-state tuition at public colleges for families making up to $125,000 a year. There is no denying the appeal of "free college," especially to Millennial voters facing sky-high tuition and crushing college debt burdens. As Sanders and other advocates for the idea note, when the country recognized a century ago that all Americans ought to have the opportunity to earn a high school degree in order to succeed in an industrializing econ- ASSOCIATED PRESS i omy, it created a system of free public high schools. Today, we are at a similar point regarding college: some post-high school credential-a bachelor's degree, or a two-year associate's degree, or even a one-year vocational certificate-is virtually a must-have for anyone aspiring to a middle-class life. But sometimes, the simplest and most historically resonant idea isn't actually the best idea. Hillary's free college plan is, at least, a plan; so far, Donald Trump's higher education proposals haven't gone much beyond putting banks back in charge of student loans and defending fraud at Trump University. Unfortunately, the Clinton free college plan, like the Sanders plan it was built on, simply won't work in a federal system of government where states have made widely diļ¬€erent investments in higher learning. And-counterintuitively for a multibillion-dollar nationwide reform plan- Washington Monthly 77

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Monthly - September/October 2016

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