With young voters poised to impact the 2016 presidential election, both remaining candidates are trying to appeal to millennials and get them on their side. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton sought to do just that, when she campaigned at Temple University Monday to promote her plans to reduce the cost of college.
According to her website, HillaryClinton.com, the proposed plan says every student should have the option to graduate from a public college or university in their state without taking on any student debt.
Once the plan is initiated, families making $85,000 a year or less will be able to go to an in-state four-year public college or university without paying tuition.
By 2021, families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities.
All community colleges will offer free tuition as well.
Chair of the political science department Dr. Harvey Schantz said in order to get Sanders’ endorsement, Hillary Clinton decided to accept some of his platforms and ideas.
“Bernie Sanders was in a very strong position going into the Democratic National Convention,” Schantz said. “I would say younger voters are looking for an alternative candidate. Sanders hasn’t been able to pass over all his supporters to Clinton.”
One factor that led to Clinton’s decision was her recent poll results.
What made national news this week was that Hillary Clinton, among 18-34 year olds went down from 48 to 31 percent according to a Quinnipiac Poll from Sept. 14.
“The first pool overall Clinton was leading 45 to 38 over Trump,” Schantz said. “She lost 17 percent. Trump didn’t gain it but Gary Johnson did.”
Johnson went from 16 percent in the 18-34 demographic on Aug. 25 to 29 percent almost three weeks later, closing the gap between him and Clinton by only two percent.
Schantz said the proposed plan would pit Democrats against Republicans.
“It’d be a massive ideological fight between the people who want to keep a lid on government spending and those who are in favor of it,” he said. “It would be tough to pass such a plan through Congress.”
Schantz said plans like this one take a long time to come together.
“The best time for a President to get a plan like this enacted is in his/her first two years.”
Schantz said. “Look at President Obama and national healthcare. That was something he fought for during his first two years in office.”
Schantz said the first two years of an administration is ideal to get a plan passed because usually the President has high approval ratings and his/her party has the majority of the house.
Director of Student Financial Services Todd Marovec said the biggest setback would be how the government would funding for such a plan.
“Where is the money coming from?” Marovec said. “That’s what i’m curious about.”
Marovec said that the plan would help out enrollment for in-state public colleges like Plattsburgh State. Marovec also said another alternative is to increase state funding for public colleges.
“Schools like Plattsburgh used to get 70 percent of funding from New York State and 30 percent from tuition,” Marovec said. “Now it has flip flopped 70 percent from tuition to 30 percent state funding.”
Since the funding has decreased, Marovec said tuition has increased and students have to take out more loans.
“My plan would be to start funding public colleges again like they had before,” Marovec said. The government can put pressure on the states to enact something like this.”
Clinton’s proposed plan in technical terms is a redistributive program.
It’s when wealth is taken from some people and then taken to pay for the program.
“Unless the plan looks retroactively, such a plan could lead to more national debt,” Schantz said. “Taxes would probably have to raised.”
Schantz said it’s the distribution of valuable resources between classes of people.
“This will lead to a great struggle in Congress and will need presidential support to get it passed,” Schantz said. “A few states have tried free community college like Tennessee. Even in Clinton County, If you get 90 or above in high school you get free tuition.”
Looking ahead, Schantz said ahead of the debate, Trump has to expect a direct challenge on this topic and what he would he do to make college more affordable.
“In politics they say an issue is an opportunity to gain voters,” Schantz said.
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