Eliminating tuition and fees at public colleges and universities, as Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has proposed, would disproportionately benefit wealthier families, according to a new analysis by the Brookings Institute.
The analysis by Matthew M. Chingos, a Brookings contributor and senior fellow at the Urban Institute, looked at the dollar value of eliminating in-state tuition at two- and four-year public institutions. He found that students from families in the top half of the income distribution would receive $16.8 billion in value from eliminated tuition compared to $13.5 billion for students in the lower half of the income distribution.
The difference is driven in part, Chingos writes, because wealthier families tend to attend more expensive four-year colleges. Chingos notes that his analysis does not consider the “likely impacts” of increased enrollment that would result from making public colleges tuition-free.
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