This piece makes an oft-ignored distinction between helping students/grads now in debt from…
Karen Gross

Hi Karen:

First, I don’t worry about effects on institutions but rather effects on students. If institutions are harmed by free community college but students are helped, then so be it. That said, the equilibrium effects of making ONLY community college free do concern me and it’s why my own proposal calls for two years free at any public (2-year or 4-year) — and I’ve since pushed for 1st degree for free to simplify that even further.

Second, yes, I agree to some extent that in theory repayment options affect access but there’s little evidence that they accomplish this. Far too few people know about or understand them, and the most vulnerable students are averse to borrowing period — repayment options don’t help change that.

Thanks for reading!

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