(This article was originally published in Elite Daily)
Hillary Clinton revealed her strategy to win Millennial support last week, with a plan to pour $350 billion into public colleges to make higher education “debt-free.”
This issue will likely gain the attention of Millennials and young voters, considering the average 2014 college graduate has $33,000 in student loan debt. However, the proposal does little to address the real causes of this ballooning problem.
Student debt has tripled over the past decade, reaching $1.2 trillion in the first 2015 quarter, according to the New York Federal Reserve.
In the last six years alone, the average cost for tuition, room and board at four-year colleges and universities has increased by 28 percent, according to the College Board.
While Mrs. Clinton may think throwing money at the problem is going to magically solve it, many believe increased spending has actually contributed to the problem.
Clinton’s plan, the “New College Compact” (NCC) would require states to increase higher education spending and limit spending increases at public universities, which would be offset with $350 billion in federal funds.
The problem with this plan is it ignores that tax-payer subsidies encourage colleges and university administrators to increase spending and make it harder to afford tuition.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently reported that for every new dollar a college receives in Direct Subsidized Loans, a school raises its price by 65 cents. And for every dollar the school receives in Pell Grants, a college raises tuition by 55 cents.
The government can definitely play a valuable role in helping deserving applicants to find ways to pay for college, but it should do so on the basis of sound policies that take into consideration historical trends.
Colleges and universities tend to raise tuition when more taxpayer funding is available. If Washington makes billions in new money available for college, there is little evidence to suggest it will solve the affordability problem.
Hillary Clinton’s plan would simply prop up a failing system, instead of proposing real reform for education financing.
Simply put, she’s disconnected from Millennial struggles and stuck on government models that may have worked in the last century, but just aren’t suited to today’s world.
She also ignores that, ultimately, the weight of government spending will fall on the backs of younger generations as the country’s taxes and debt increase.
As Millennials, we understand the way to address the student debt issue is with new ideas, not a repeat of failed policies.
Lawmakers should focus on student-centered education reforms that empower students by increasing their options and chances of finding quality and fulfilling employment.
Options like these include online education, vocational high schools and accreditation for short-term colleges.
The government should also encourage schools to compete on price and strive for innovation and better performance. If the government keeps funneling more money to colleges and universities, tuition is only going to keep rising.
In a recent interview, Clinton said, “I want every parent to know that his or her child can get a degree or you can get one yourself.”
Unfortunately, her plan does not enable that for past or future generations.
This plan’s focus is on the now, on the prized Millennial voters.
The New College Compact sounds nice, but it is simply a repeat of the past policies that have proven to be more damaging than helpful.
We like the idea of lowering college tuition, but as young voters, we’re also looking for new ideas that attend to new century demands.
As college graduates with massive debt, we know a bad deal when we see one.