About 168,500 in-state, full-time students attending Georgia’s public four-year colleges could benefit from a plan by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to make higher education more affordable, her campaign said Monday.
Under the plan, students would be able to attend a a four-year public college without taking out loans for tuition, and community college students — including about 119,200 in Georgia — could attend tuition-free. Also, people with student loans would be able to refinance their debts at the currently lower interest rates.
Clinton’s plan, which the campaign said would be funded by “closing tax loopholes and expenditures for the most fortunate,” has been criticized by her Republican campaign opponents, who called the proposal “more top-down Washington solutions” and for offering ” the same bait and switch as Barack Obama”.
As more Georgia colleges resumed classes this week, campaign officials along with Georgia House Minority Leader and Spelman College graduate Stacey Abrams, touted Clinton’s New College Compact. If Georgia were to fully participate, a Peach State family earning between $50,000 and $75,000 a year could reduce expenses between $22,500 and $25,800 over four years of college and the life of their loans, according to data provided by the campaign.
The plan, estimated to cost $350 billion over 10 years, comes as college tuition has continued to increase and student loan debt has hit more than $1.2 trillion nationally. The proposal would provide grants for states and colleges pledging to create no-loan tuition plans for students, including a new fund for small private colleges, including historically black institutions serving many low-income students. It would push states to invest more money in public higher education and penalize colleges for not graduating enough students on time.
What the wide-ranging plan does not promise is free college for everyone, a proposal that has been criticized as being unaffordable and detrimental to the quality of higher education.
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