US POLITICS

Would Your State Qualify For Clinton’s $175B Public College Grant?

If Clinton's proposal were introduced today, 13 states wouldn't qualify for the debt-relief plan

Aug 10, 2015 at 6:06 PM ET

Hillary Clinton is proposing to fix America’s $1.2 trillion student loan debt problem by promising $175 billion in grants for states which stop pulling funds from public universities.

Clinton’s proposal says that states that guarantee students would not have to take out loans to cover tuition at four-year public schools would qualify for the grant money. In return, states would have to end budget cuts on education, increase spending and curb the rise in tuition. If Clinton’s proposal were introduced today, 13 states wouldn’t qualify for the debt-relief plan because they continue to cut higher education funding for their own students, which results in higher tuition fees to cover the shortfall.

West Virginia and Kentucky were joint worst offenders this year, cutting funding by 2.3 percent each. Texas, Vermont and Arkansas rounded out the top five. While Louisiana increased funding during the 2014/2015 school year, it hiked state college fees by nine percent or roughly $600, the highest in any state.

Some 37 total states increased funding in the last year, but the increases were modest, with states increasing student spending by 3.9 percent nationally. Annual published tuition at four-year public colleges has risen by $2,068, or 29 percent, since the 2007/2008 school year, after adjusting for inflation.

States provide about 53 percent of revenues used to support instruction at public schools, according to the report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. While increased tuition fees cover lost revenues, researchers said colleges have also had to cut staff, courses, close campuses, shut computer labs and reduce library hours, in order to make up for mounting losses.

Clinton, who will officially announce the plan at a town hall event on Monday evening in New Hampshire, will also allow graduates to refinance private loans at lower interest rates, let students use their Pell Grants fully for living expenses, expand the AmeriCorps national service program from 75,000 to 250,000 members and impose penalties on colleges whose graduates cannot pay back their loans, according to the New York Times.