As the Democratic primary has scaled down to a low murmur, Bernie Sanders has been quietly working with Hillary Clinton to create a new plan for free college. Now they’ve released the details and it looks like a solid winner for America.
The new joint plan will make in-state public colleges and universities free to students who are in families making less than $85,000 a year. That income threshold will gradually increase by $10,000 per year until it hits a plateau of $125,000 a year in 2021.
Both camps have confirmed that they’ve been working on the joint plan for some time now, and that they’ve had aides personally hammering out the details between the two sides.
Bernie Sanders had this to say regarding the big news:
I want to take this opportunity to applaud Secretary Clinton for the very bold initiative she has just brought forth today for the financing of higher education. This proposal combines some of the strongest ideas she fought for during the campaign with some of the principles that I fought for. The final product is a result of the work of both campaigns.
The main difference between the two plans is that Hillary’s plan will include the income cap which will gradually raise over time. Bernie’s plan did not include a cap. The cap was a compromise worked out between Sanders and Clinton, because Clinton had said many times during the primary that she didn’t want taxpayers to pay for Donald Trump’s kids’ education.
It’s a fair compromise. More well-to-do families can easily afford public colleges and universities compared to the poor and middle class, and this will ensure funds get pushed down the income scale to those who need it the most. Beyond that, it’s almost a total win for Sanders as free higher education has been one of the strongest planks in his presidential platform.
In addition, the newly formed plan will create a three-month moratorium on student loan payments to all federal borrowers, in order to allow students to get more financial assistance, take advantage of re-financing options and other options available to ease their repayments.
The new plan also calls for a restoration of year-round Pell grants to help students get funding for summer classes.
The primary process has been a rough one for Democrats, seeing sharp divides between Sanders and Clinton supporters. However, what’s important in the end are the results. This is a first step towards a more progressive Democratic platform. If things continue building in this manner, the choice in November will be obvious.