At Tuesday’s Democratic debate, candidates presented notably different stances on free public college and higher education. Pete Buttigieg reiterated his opposition to subsidizing university costs for the children of wealthy families, while Elizabeth Warren says she supports an overall wealth tax that would negate concerns over billionaires sending their children to public universities. The division within the Democratic party on universal higher education reflects the fact that the broader issue is treated “as though it is something strange and something we should be skeptical of,” says Alexis Goldstein, a contributor to TruthOut.org, who points out that free college systems previously existed in California and New York. Goldstein sees universal higher education as a “real decision point for the Democratic party” that would benefit the economy, not only for students who would no longer be bound to paying off college debts, but for everyone. “When you make benefits universal, they are more resilient,” she says.
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