The Enrollment Effects of Clinton’s Free College Proposal

Source: Anthony P. Carnevale, Martin Van Der Werf, Cary Lou, Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce, 2016

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee for the presidency, has proposed that public colleges and universities eliminate tuition for all in-state students whose families make less than $125,000 per year.

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown Center) has been asked by various individuals and organizations to project the impact such a policy would have on enrollment in higher education. The greatest obstacle to making a projection is the lack of comparable previous policy changes. Given the lack of analogous cases and the lack of legislative and regulatory specificity in the Clinton proposal, our best informed guess is that the overall impact would be a 9-22 percent increase in enrollment at public colleges and universities, with a median projected increase of 16 percent…..