Not only would Bernie Sander’s plan not pay for free four year college for everyone, it could undermine free community college programs, by shifting state funding to more costly four year colleges-universities.
Under Sanders’ plan, the Federal government would provide $47 billion per year to eliminate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities. He apparently assumes a steady-state total tuition of $70 billion per year, so that it would cover 67% and assumes that states would fund 33%. However, free college-university means that, unless entrance is restricted, the number of students attending would increase, so the amount that $47 billion covers would decrease. Additionally, not all states would be willing or able to pay the 33%.
Furthermore, it is unclear how this would impact the ability of states to provide free community college. The state funds risk being shifted from two year community colleges, where they are better used…
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