Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump faced off in their third and final presidential debate Wednesday night.
During the 90-minute debate, Clinton touted her debt-free college plan.
“I want to make college debt-free and for families making less than a hundred twenty five thousand dollars,” Clinton said. “You will not get a tuition bill from a public college or a university if the plan that I worked on with Bernie Sanders is enacted.”
Clinton also made the claim of being able to accomplish all of that without adding “a penny” to the national debt.
A new analysis by the The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), an independent, nonpartisan nonprofit organisation, disagreed with Clinton’s assertion. In fact, CRFB found that Clinton’s plan would add $500 billion to the debt over the next 10 years.
Considering the current US national debt of about $19.7 trillion, $500 billion seems minimal. Still, it’s an increase. And in total, the CRFB found that Clinton’s proposals would add $9 trillion to the debt over 10 years.
While it’s unclear exactly how Clinton plans to pay for her plan, she’s indicated that it will be funded by closing loopholes. The CRFB previously found that the plan could be funded that way.
Clinton first proposed her debt-free college plan, the New College Compact, in August 2015 and has since refined it. Last year, the former secretary of state promised that students attending public colleges would not need to take out loans.
“I’m a little different from those who say free college for everybody,” she said on NBC’s “Today” show in 2015. “I am not in favour of making college free for Donald Trump’s kids. I am in favour of making college free for your grandson by having no-debt tuition.”
The plan would make tuition at four-year public colleges and universities “debt free” and would be calculated based on family income.
Her proposal starts by making public college free for families that earn $85,000 or less annually, gradually lifting the threshold up to families that earn $125,000 a year by 2021. Community college would be free for all students, and interest rates on student loans would be decreased.
Clinton’s plan would also allow students to refinance student debt at current rates and would lower interest rates on future loans.
She previously proposed spending $350 billion over 10 years for the plan and has moved that estimate up to $500 billion, in part by cutting tax deductions for high-income Americans.
At Wednesday’s debate, Trump claimed Clinton’s plan would result in huge tax increases for Americans.
“Her plan is going to raise taxes and even double your taxes,” Trump said. “We will have a massive, massive tax increase under Hillary Clinton’s plan,” he continued.
The CRFB also analysed Trumps’ proposals, however, and found they would add $14 trillion to the national debt over 10 years, compared to Clinton’s $9 trillion.
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