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These Academics Say Bernie Sanders’s College Plan Will Be a Boon for African American Students. Will It?

A growing body of research suggests that African Americans are bearing the brunt of the student debt burden, as they are more likely than other groups to borrow for college and fall behind on payments. It goes to reason that a sweeping overhaul of college pricing, be it the elimination of tuition at public universities or reduction of interest rates on student loans, would have the greatest impact on African American students. And just who would usher in such a change? Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

That’s the premise of a new academic paper that touts the Democratic presidential candidate’s proposal of free tuition for everyone attending state colleges and universities. The plan, introduced as legislation in May, would knock out undergraduate tuition at public institutions and expand work-study programs to help students at private universities. It would also cut interest rates on federal student loans to stop the government from profiting off lending to young people. Sanders’ campaign did not respond to requests for comment on the paper.