Clinton unveils debt-free education plan with nod to Sanders

Hillary Clinton announces debt-free college plan
Hillary Clinton announces debt-free college plan

Hillary Clinton's newly unveiled higher education plan would eliminate tuition for families with incomes up to $125,000 at in-state public colleges and universities.

That proposal, a keystone of her plan announced Wednesday to reduce student debt and the burden of student loans, is also a victory for her primary rival Bernie Sanders, who campaigned on a platform to make tuition free at public colleges and universities. Indeed, the proposal drew praise from Sanders, who wrote on Twitter that he applauded Clinton's "very bold initiative for the financing of higher education."

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Clinton's plan to eliminate tuition at in-state public institutions of higher education would begin immediately for families earning $85,000 or less, and would expand to families earning up to $125,000 over five years. In a release, the Clinton campaign claimed this would cover more than 80 percent of families.

The "debt-free college plan" would also impose a three-month moratorium on federal student loan payments via executive action, to allow borrowers to refinance their loans.

"College is a great investment—for students and our economy. But it's a major expense that holds many Americans back well into adulthood," the Clinton campaign wrote on its website. "The graduating class of 2016 is slated to be the most indebted in U.S. history—and loan balances are disproportionately high for low-income students, including students of color."

The Clinton campaign's higher education plan, while not a full adoption of Sanders' proposal, points to a trend of the Democratic party adopting elements of the Vermont Senators' progressive platform, which attracted a groundswell of support. Last week, the Sanders campaign won a fight to include a $15 minimum wage on a draft of the Democratic party's platform.