By Richard Vedder
Senator Clinton unveiled her higher education plan last week. Overall, it is not a very good plan, but it is far better than I expected it to be. It is reasonably detailed and has a few very good features.
The good news is that it proposes to eliminate the guaranteed student loan program, an incredibly good idea. It also proposes to require colleges to report earnings and employment data on graduates --another great idea.
This is offset, however, by proposing an increase in total federal higher education spending by a massive expansion of tax credits, which is an open invitation for colleges to raise tuition fees. The huge expansion in grants is also conceivably dubious, but if done using vouchers it is an idea with some potential. Incentive grants to improve graduation rates could be good, depending how they are administered. A huge expansion of AmeriCorps, which provides funds for college tuition in exchange for a year of community service, has little to do with higher education, and where is the evidence that program has been effective? Nothing in the plan deals with the root causes of higher education’s inefficiency. Still, for Senator Clinton, it isn't too bad --and at least she is giving us some specifics on what she would do --more than most other candidates are doing.