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Counterpoint: Clinton plan stifles higher education innovation

When I finished undergrad in the 1980s, my diploma came with thousands of dollars in student debt. It took years to pay off.

Today, the $1.2 trillion in student debt held by young adults across the country is a national crisis. But contrary to what Hillary Clinton says, more federal spending is not the solution.
Government meddling in higher education is the reason college is so expensive. Today the federal government is spending record amounts on higher education, but the cost to get a degree has never been higher. According to the College Board, the price of attending a public university has increased by 37 percent over the past decade to $18,391 annually. At private colleges, it’s up 23 percent over the past decade to $40,917.
Why have costs climbed? Because there’s no need for universities to be frugal when the feds are sending checks their way.
And herein lies the problem with Clinton’s proposal: It doesn’t change how much higher education costs; it just changes who gets the check.
Clinton’s proposal alleviates student debt by sending the checks straight to states and their public universities. It’s a straight up election-time ploy made to look like it helps young adults (read: prospective voters), when in reality it’s a $350 billion tax increase on every American. Instead of saddling just college kids with the debt, we all pay.
Here’s a better idea: Don’t incentivize schools to spend more. Encourage them to find ways to drive down the cost of higher education.
Many schools already are. In 2013 my alma mater, the Georgia Institute of Technology, offered the first master’s degree from a top-ranked university based on Massive Open Online Course technology. Students can graduate without ever having to step foot on campus and will pay just $6,600 for their degree.
Clinton’s plan stifles this innovation. It feeds the higher education spending monster. It puts all Americans on the hook. And it says nothing about making sure the next generation receives a quality education that will lead to lifelong success. It’s not reform; it’s more of the same.
Ted Dabrowski is vice president of policy at the Illinois Policy Institute.