"Hillary Clinton on Monday unveiled her plan to ensure any American
student can go to a public college and pay for tuition without incurring
any student debt, one of the most expansive ideas so far from her
campaign and one that would in effect create a new education
entitlement." according to WMTV.
"I believe one of the single biggest ways we can raise incomes is by making college affordable and available to every American," the Democratic front-runner wrote in a post on Medium explaining the proposal.
"Under my plan, tuition will be affordable for every family," she added. "Students should never have to take out a loan to pay for tuition at their state's public university."
Clinton is proposing to send billions of dollars to states to fund their public colleges as long as they agree to a series of steps that would keep tuition low. In participating states, a student's parents would still be required to contribute some amount of money (dependent on the family's income) and the student would be expected to work 10 hours a week to help pay for school.
Students would also pay for books, housing and other expenses, so Clinton's proposal falls short of the universal "debt-free" college proposed by many liberal advocates.
Still, the rest of students' tuition would be state-funded, thereby eliminating the need to take out loans for tuition itself. And under this system, the millions of students who receive Pell Grants could use them to offset some non-tuition expenses, so that bloc of students could graduate with little out-of-pocket college cost and no debt.
Clinton's plan is unlikely to become law in this form, as many of its details are vague and both Republicans in Congress and officials from both parties would likely press for changes before it was enacted.
But Clinton has now made one of the biggest promises of her campaign, and Democrats will press her to deliver on it if elected.
Some conservatives are already casting the plan as "Obamacare for higher education." Clinton is calling for the creation of a low-cost higher education option, in the same way Barack Obama promised in his 2008 campaign that most Americans would have the ability to buy an affordable health insurance plan.
"It represents a new guarantee of something that we should be investing in as a country," said Mark Huelsman, a policy analyst at the progressive think tank Demos, which consulted with the Clinton campaign on the plan. "You don't have to borrow for tuition and fees and that is a big thing."