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Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is unveiling a college-tuition proposal that sounds very similar to policy positions advanced by her primary rival, Bernie Sanders.
Clinton’s campaign announced on Wednesday a plan to offer free tuition at public colleges by 2021 for all students whose families have an annual income of $125,000 or less. The initiative would be introduced in stages with families making $85,000 at first eligible, then stepping up in tiers until the threshold reaches $125,000 in 2021. These students would be eligible for free tuition at in-state four-year schools and community colleges, according to her campaign’s website.
Students would have to work 10 hours a week to contribute to their education, and their parents would have to kick in an “affordable and realistic family contribution.”
This is a major move for Clinton as she seeks to shore up support from Sanders’ large young adult base. Clinton also called for reinstating year-round Pell Grant funding so students juggling classes along with jobs, childcare and other obligations could continue their education through the summer months, along with a three-month timeout of sorts on the repayment of federal student loans. This temporary deferral would allow borrowers to consolidate or refinance high-interest loans, according to the Washington Post.
The Clinton campaign said the three-month moratorium would be enacted by the White House (as opposed to going through Congress) if she is elected. Still, to make the whole free college tuition plan work, a lot of moving parts need to come together. Clinton called on states to increase higher education funding and said colleges would have to be held accountable for student results. She also proposed a simplified income-based repayment option for federal student loans.