Sep 18, 2019

New Mexico to offer free tuition to state residents

College graduates throwing caps in the air. Photo: Jan Woitas/picture alliance via Getty Images

New Mexico is set to announce Wednesday that state residents would have access to free college for both 2- and 4-year public schools, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The state proposal is the furthest reaching plan yet for free college, offering tuition to all 29 public universities for families to any resident, regardless of the ability to pay.

The big picture: With student debt reaching $1.5 trillion nationally, at least half the states have begun to offer some type of free college to help its residents grapple with rising costs. Some schools or programs, like the recent announcement from Cornell's medical school, have taken it upon themselves to pay for all costs for students.

Yes, but: The New Mexico proposal is only for tuition and won't include room and board, books or other living expenses. The proposal still needs legislative approval.

Go deeper: Debt-free college: Where the 2020 presidential candidates stand

Go deeper

Debt-free college: Where the 2020 presidential candidates stand

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Cory Booker. Photo: Getty Images.

A clear divide exists among 2020 Democrats who are rolling out plans to tackle the student debt crisis, whether tuition-free or debt-free policies are the way to win voter support.

By the numbers: Student debt in the United States has reached $1.5 trillion, and it is responsible for much of millennials and Generation X's anguish.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 8, 2019

Average U.S. student debt hits record

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The class of 2018 graduated with a record average of $29,200 in loans to help pay for a bachelor's degree, reports USA Today.

Why it matters: It was unusual to graduate with a high amount of debt a few decades ago, but "we have depressed ourselves into a mindset in which $30,000 in debt is acceptable for a degree," Mark Huelsman, an associate director at the left-leaning think tank Demos, told the newspaper.

Go deeperArrowSep 20, 2019

Joe Biden's higher education plan includes free community college

Joe Biden speaking at a candidate forum. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Joe Biden's 2020 campaign unveiled a $750 billion higher education plan Tuesday that includes tuition-free community and technical college — with the federal government picking up 75% of the cost and allowing states to cover the rest — as well as more generous federal college loan programs, per the AP.

The state of play: Biden's plan isn't as far reaching as those put forth by his opponents, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who both offer plans exceeding $1 trillion. Sanders' plan proposes eliminating all student loan debt, while Warren calls for broad debt relief based on income.

Go deeper ... Debt-free college: Where the 2020 presidential candidates stand