2020 Presidential Candidates Making College Affordable?

Photo Courtesy Of Wikimedia Commons

Photo Courtesy Of Wikimedia Commons

Tyler Seale

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A wave of democratic politicians have recently announced their plans to campaign for the 2020 presidential election, but they all hold a similar topic in high interest, being the college affordability crisis and its possible solutions.
Some of these democratic candidates have backed solutions for more affordable college for years such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Sanders has specifically supported tuition-free college, so much so that he even pushed his competitor in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, to shift from primarily supporting affordable college concepts to embracing the idea of tuition-free college.
Warren has pushed for debt-free college, which focuses more on providing students. This has been suggested with strategies such as providing two years of free community college.
Lang and Lit professor, Dr. Chris Bursk, saw this strategy as a great opportunity for community colleges, saying, “That could benefit community colleges with enrollment as well as being able to show people what they offer.”
Bursk continued, “Two years free at a community college could help address the issue of availability of education to lower income individuals.”
Varying income levels are an obstacle that brings up the question if an education should be considered a fundamental right. Bursk said, “Not everyone has the same chance.”
This is proving to be true as most jobs that pay well require a college degree, which automatically excludes individuals who cannot afford college from that career opportunity. Plans that support education as a fundamental right will help lower income students as well as students that are often excluded from opportunities such as students of color to gain equality in education.
Another strategy to finance these programs is more or new taxes being instated to offset the expenses caused by some of these politicians’ plans. This solution brings up more issues as it could be seen as taxpayers just taking on the burden college students once did, whether those tax payers will or desire to attend college.
This also does not help the millions struggling with debt right now. Bloomberg.com, states, “Debt among 19 to 29-year-old Americans exceeded $1 trillion at the end of 2018”, which was the “highest debt exposure for the youngest adult group since late 2007.”
Even though the idea of college being debt or tuition free is a sudden and polar opposite of the current reality, The Atlantic.com, provides a quote from policy director at Demos, Mark Huelsman, stating, “That’s the beauty of debt-free college programs: There is a lot of flexibility in there on policy design.”
Part of these policy designs that could be a concern is if a certain Grade Point Average, (GPA), should be required for students to be eligible for these programs.
Danielle Fish, a paralegal study major at Bucks, stated, “Everyone in debt should get equal financial opportunity to pay it off no matter their GPA.”
These candidates running in the 2020 election could be pioneers for the future of the American college system and how its availability of an education will be realistically obtainable for anyone pursuing it.
Democratic members choosing to focus their attention on the college affordability crisis could prove to be extremely beneficial in gaining support, as Bursk and Fish said that a candidate trying to find a solution for the crisis would be a step in the right direction to gain their vote.

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