Means tested programs fail to imagine every possible situation a family can be in and inevitably leave benefit people the program was designed to help, especially those who aren't good at navigating complicated bureaucracy (which tend to be the ones in most need). Let's say you have a student who's parents make good money but disown their kid because he's gay and therefore refuse to fund his college, how do you come up with a policy that's not going to punish him for having shitty parents. I had a friend in college who hadn't seen her father in years, but his income blocked her ability to get financial aide. How do you prevent an exception from being exploited by those making $151k and are now staring at a $50k tuition bill? Now you've got to come up with a method to combat that. It's the same endless cycle of fighting welfare fraud, which every time hurts those who really need it. I've spent the last 3 weeks trying to arrange my new Full Time job's compensation and benefits around 4 different disability programs, each of which has strict means testing (SSI, Medicaid, Medicaid Waiver, Department of Voc Rehab) but have programs to get around those rules which are also means tested with strict rules (SSI 1619B, Voc Rehab economic offset, ABLE Account, Special Needs Trust). My point is, anytime we create a government program that excludes X, we need to think about are the enforcement mechanisms worth the harm you're going to cause to your target population. Buttigieg's program excludes the top 10% of earners, all things being equal with admissions that should only cost the program 10% more. That cost increase is absolutely worth not having a bureaucracy which erode's people's faith in government, especially the middle class.