Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination is calling for debt-free college as opposed to tuition-free college, according to a statement posted on his website.
Buttigieg said he is in favor of creating a federal partnership that will make public tuition affordable for all and completely free for those with lower household incomes. He also proposed largely increasing Pell Grants that help students with basic living expenses and keep up with inflation.
Last month, during an interaction with college students, Buttigieg said, “he doesn’t believe in free college.”
“Americans who have a college degree earn more than Americans who don’t,” Buttigieg said in a quote from The Washington Post. “As a progressive, I have a hard time getting my head around the idea a majority who earn less because they didn’t go to college subsidize a minority who earn more because they did.”
He has promised to ensure zero tuition for middle-income families at public colleges and dedicated support to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).
Buttigieg further said that he would confront student loan debt, ensure the highest degree of transparency and accountability for higher education institutions, apply strict standards to for-profit higher education institutions and provide more support for students entering public service.
Last week, San Antonio’s mayor Julián Castro, who is also eyeing the Democratic presidential nomination, proposed to eliminate tuition at public colleges, universities, community colleges, and technical and vocational schools apart from universal pre-kindergarten, a $150 billion dollar investment to modernize high schools, and raises for teachers.
He also promised an investment of $3 billion per year to provide financial support and increase access for low-income students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving institutions.