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Education Opinion

Will Bernie Sanders’ College Plan Kill HBCUs?

By Matthew Lynch — February 26, 2016 1 min read

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders wants to help students by giving them a free ride to college. Sanders’ plan calls for making public colleges and universities tuition free. It is, to him at least, a way to make American students the most educated in the world by making the way to college easier.

But some are criticizing Sanders for his plan because it would force states to pick up the extra tab; something that many states are struggling with currently. State legislatures have cut K-12 and higher education for years and don’t seem to be slowing down, even with improvements in the economy.

Another criticism being levied towards Sanders and his plan for college is that it will potentially destroy Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Representative James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who is supporting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president, has taken issue with Sanders’ free college plan.

Talking to the press earlier this week, Clyburn said that private HBCUs will begin to shut down because states will start to offer free tuition to public colleges. He continued his hits on Senator Sanders by saying that nothing in life is free including college.

For what its worth, Clyburn said that he believes in making college more affordable for anyone who wants to attend, just not free.

Clyburn’s assessment of Sanders and his plan for college was devoid of what it will cost as he is attempting to bolster Clinton’s stock with black voters.

To the point of what it may cost to make college free, Sanders has said that he will have to raise taxes to pay for covering college tuition. He wants to place a larger tax on Wall Street speculators which is likely to be a tough sale.

But for what he’s at least attempting to do, it’s not a bad idea. Cost for college has spiraled out of control and many students have been priced out of even thinking of going to college. He’ll also have to deal with the potential consequences of what this may do to private colleges, including HBCUs.

The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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