In an interview with Al Sharpton on his MSNBC show “Politics Nation” ahead of this evening’s debate at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz claimed that among the issues President Barack Obama would discuss during the second presidential debate was his “plan to cut tuition increases in half” for college students.
If Obama has such a “plan,” that’s definitely news.
At the Democratic National Convention last month Obama did say that among his second term goals would be to cut college tuition increases in half.
When asked about this “plan” the Obama campaign referenced the Race to the Top for colleges “plan” that Obama announced earlier that year. Race to the Top : College Affordability and Accountability will supposedly encourage public universities to lower their tuition rates by offering rewards – totaling $1 billion for the entire program – for those colleges that meet certain requirements set by the Department of Education.
The Race to the Top for colleges “plan” is really not a plan as much as it is a two-sentence idea – literally. Despite repeated references to this “plan” the Obama administration has not provided additional details on it nor has this idea been introduced into legislation. The Obama administration has also avoided explaining when students could expect this so-called plan to become legislation. (Congress has “no appetite for education reforms,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said recently.)
Let’s just give Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume this idea does become a plan and it becomes legislation, will it really cut tuition growth in half?
Not according to education consultant Mark Kantrowitz. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, “Obama’s proposals don’t appear to involve enough funding to bring down college pricing significantly. Tuition growth is likely to slow in coming years as the economy improves and state revenue increases, he said, but meeting the president’s goal would likely require a bigger turnabout.”
To say that Obama has an actual plan to cut college tuition increases in half is to say that Obama has a plan to cut the deficit in half , which candidate Obama promised he would in 2008. And as we all know, that never happened.
Candidate Obama also said in 2008 that “when I’m President, I will make college affordable for every American.” Didn’t happen either.
Just like those unfulfilled 2008 promises, it’s unlikely that given a second term Obama will ever introduce a realistic plan to cut tuition increases in half.
Update: It’s worth noting that Obama did not in fact talk about this so-called plan during last night’s debate as Wasserman Schultz predicted he would. Could it be because there isn’t one? Hmmm.