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Photo credit: Michael Vadon

There’s an important difference between college financing plans offered by Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Both plans affect the middle class and reflect candidates’ governing philosophies. However, the difference isn’t just financial. We can see two absolutely different points of views and attitudes to the middle class and the young.

Elementary and high school education available for all, at no cost. But it’s important to keep in mind that better income and career opportunities require a higher level of education and unfortunately, that’s where young people need a lot of money. Thus, we have such a big problem as $1.3 trillion in student debt. This burden not only holds back millions of young Americans but also stops economic development.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton offered their solutions for this problem. Let’s take a look at what they offer to be able to decide whose plan is better.

Sanders: Tuition-Free Public Education to Every Qualified Student

Basically, Sanders uses an old approach to higher education. It’s based not on the money, but on the willing to study and to succeed in it. There are many families with a very limited income who apply to Personal Money Service Company to get financial assistance so they just can’t afford sending their children to college. Sanders’ plan says that every young person who succeeds in school and has good results in studying should be able to get higher education.

This plan lies squarely in the line of great initiatives. The idea is not new, because there was a time when many of the best colleges charged no tuition at all or offered modest fees.  Mr. Sanders wants to act against the massive student loan debt and his plan allows reducing it. He understands that some of the best practices left in the past, so now it’s time to refresh them.

Clinton: Middle-Class Students Have to Work as Well as Study

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Mark Nozell

Hillary Clinton’s approach is unnecessarily complicated. It gives so much space to other politicians’ questions and manipulations. Clinton’s plan makes middle-class students pay for tuition, but the fee is calculated using a special formula based on a family’s income. It’s obvious that an offered solution lacks simplicity. For example, the Social Security program provides benefits for those who are eligible without any tests.

Also, Clinton’s plan requires middle-class students to combine working and studying. It forces students getting financial help to work 10 hours a week. If that will happen, these young people definitely need to know how to avoid bankruptcy, otherwise, they won’t be able to pay their share. Some political analysts have already criticized this point of the plan because, needless to say, working and studying is a heavy burden of time and effort. However, this burden is only for middle-class student because parents of wealthy ones are paying full tuition.

Mrs. Clinton says that she is not going to give free tuition to kids who don’t work some hours. But actually, what is “given” in this case? Students have to do hard work and succeed in studying to be able to go to college. Clinton’s plan doesn’t make anything easier for middle-class people and it doesn’t ask enough of the wealthy ones. Progressive way to finance education is to ask wealthy people to pay their fair share and to create a fair system of fees. In other words, the rich are asked to contribute in an equitable way. Sanders’ plan contains this progressive approach.

The final point: Hillary Clinton’s plan doesn’t help to deal with the student debt. Many middle-class people already have serious financial problems because of student loans and actually, this plan doesn’t make things easier for them. They still have to pay and moreover, their children have to work to pay their share. That’s why the main task isn’t completed yet: Clinton’s plan doesn’t eliminate the student loan debt.