Law prof John Brooks has written Student Loans As Taxes. Here is the abstract:
The growth of college tuition and the corresponding rise in student loan debt have become major issues of public importance. Total outstanding student debt is at least $1.3 trillion, and tuitions keep growing, even while we arguably need to invest more in higher education to add skills and grow our economy. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has made higher education reform a major part of his Democratic presidential campaign platform, proposing a new financial transactions tax to pay for large grants to states that offer free tuition to public universities. His opponent, Hillary Clinton, has proposed grants to states to offer ‘‘no-debt-tuition,’’ paid for in part by repealing several tax expenditures. These and other plans would essentially increase federal spending on higher education through expanded progressive taxation.