Hillary Clinton endorses free college tuition

Expands previous proposals, moves closer to her rival for the Democratic bid

Hillary Clinton campaign announced a plan Wednesday that would eliminate college tuition for many students.

Under the proposal, students from families with annual incomes under $125,000—more than 80% of families currently sending students to college—would be able to attend public institutions in their home state at no tuition cost.

The plan would also impose a three-month moratorium on student loan repayments for new graduates. During that break, borrowers would get support refinancing their loans for lower interest rates or applying for an income-based repayment structure. 

Related: Students don't speak "financial aid"

Clinton's campaign says that she would enact the plan through executive action if she were elected president. The policy would take effect gradually: initially, only students from families with annual incomes under $85,000 would qualify for free tuition, and the cap would gradually increase until hitting $125,000 in 2021.

The announcement brings Clinton's policies on higher education closer to the other major Democratic hopeful, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). Sanders proposed eliminating college tuition for all students at all public colleges and universities. Observers say the move may help Clinton win over Sanders' supporters before the Democratic National Convention on July 25-28.

Clinton previously released a proposal she referred to as "debt-free" college, which asked families to contribute to tuition through savings or loans and asked students to work up to 10 hours per week. Clinton had also previously endorsed free community college (Flegenheimer, New York Times, 7/6; Hefling/Strauss, Politico, 7/6). 

Nudges help students complete financial aid forms, stay in school


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