In the last post I concentrated mostly on Hillary Clinton’s ideas on our student loan crisis. A lot of attention has been given to Hillary Clinton during this presidential debate. It may have to do with the fact that she is a Clinton, a name that resounds so loudly within America. For whatever reasons it may be, not a lot has been said about Bernie Sanders ideas despite the fact that he is advocating for completely free tuition unlike Hillary Clinton.
Although he is a very prominent figure in the presidential debate, his ideas towards our education have not been as highlighted like Hillarys. Which is interesting seeing as with Hillary’s plan you are still expected to pay a certain amount for your education and maybe even take out a loan if necessary. With the propositions presented by Sanders you wouldn’t have to, he proposes that tuition be completely free with the Government paying 67 percent and the state providing the rest of the 33 percent. “…public higher education was virtually free in many parts of this country…It was understood that we all benefited from living in a society where every young person…could obtain a higher education…” His idea is influenced off of the idea of what America used to stand for. “It is important for us to return to that view of education as integral to America’s commonwealth, and to our democracy.” Bernie Sanders, unlike Hillary, approaches higher education affordability as a problem that is not only personal but also societal.
Heather Gautney, an associate professor at Fordham University and a senior researcher for the Sanders campaign recently wrote a piece comparing Sanders layout with that of Hillary’s “New College Compact” and she is quick to point out many flaws. One of them being that students would still be expected to work in order to pay for their tuition if necessary. But I think that many of us know that sometimes it is incredibly hard and at times impossible to juggle a job on top of attending school. With ten classes this semester, I know I completely agree with this statement.
It is very easy for some to say that with hard work we can achieve going to school and and also having a job, but they fail to realize that for some this is not possible, mentally, physically, and emotionally. “That can be difficult for students carrying a heavy class load, especially if the work isn’t related to their studies.” So much of stress in college comes from the workload that we are pressed with. Imagine having to deal with that on top of having to also work? Some truly can’t handle it.
Another thing she is quick to point out is that family contributions are expected to help pay for your kids tuition in the “New College Compact”. Hillary does specify saying that families would only contribute what they can, but some families as Gautney points out cannot afford to have another payment on top of what they already have to deal with, “Many middle-class families today are already struggling to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck and often borrowing just to meet their routine expenses.” All this would achieve is worsening the economic life of the family which truly is a social problem as well, because how can a family progress and contribute to society if loans and payments they can’t afford are inhibiting them from rising above. It is very similar to the caste system in India during the classical era. Once you were born into a class you weren’t able to rise above it to become something more, but you were able to become lower in the system.
But like a commenter of the article mentions it is difficult to stand behind what Sanders is saying simply because what is the probability that his bill will pass if he wins Presidency. “The GOP will retain the House for another 8-10 years. There’s no way it’ll work.” Currently Republicans run the House of Legislature, trying to run a plan that consists of providing free higher education by taxing the rich is not something that is going to be welcomed by the party.
Hillary’s plan also runs the risk of not being passed by the house, but as a commenter mentioned because her plan is more “moderate” it has higher likelihood of working. It uses ideas from both sides of the spectrum. She is making college more affordable but she isn’t just handing it to us completely free, we still have to work for it.
Another point made that garnered my attention was when a commenter gave the example that he attended the same college his daughter recently graduated from and the difference each paid despite it being the “Same school, same buildings, same laboratories, and some of the same profs.” the cost was significantly different. He mentioned that he would like to see a proposition “that requires schools to reign-in spending” instead of just relying on having free education.
While both plans have their good qualities about them, they also have qualities that are a bit skeptical. Despite the problem the idea Sanders proposition holds I am still in agreement that college should be free.