No American should take out a loan to go to a public college, says Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
To a degree, Clinton is backing this very vision, which addresses the growing student-loan debt load among millions of millennials, with a detailed proposal.
Clinton Monday officially announced what her campaign is calling the “New College Compact,” a commitment to take on the rising cost of tuition by offering low interest grants and making cheaper loans more widely available. She also wants to ensure the federal government “will never again profit off student loans for college students.”
That’s not exactly free tuition, but her plan also includes incentives to states that agree to provide “no-loan tuition at four-year public colleges and universities.” States that agree, under the Clinton plan, will win grants from the federal government.
Political opposition from Republicans in Congress is a virtual guarantee, however.
Clinton also pledged to continue pushing President Barack Obama’s free tuition plan at community colleges. She also wants to make sure students will “never have to pay more than 10% of their income when repaying the loan.”
Republican opponents running for president say her plan will raise taxes and affect tax breaks for charitable giving. But Clinton insists she is looking to the richest Americans to pay the bill.
According to Clinton’s campaign, the plan will cost $350 billion over 10 years. It will be “fully paid for by limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers.” That includes cutting back on the number of itemized dedications for high earners, something Congress would have to approve.
“College graduates earn $570,000 more on average in their careers than high school graduates,” read a Clinton campaign fact sheet on the plan. “Graduates of community college, career training, certificate programs and coding boot camps also earn more.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a leading Republican candidate, called Clinton’s proposal irresponsible.
“We don’t need more top-down Washington solutions that will raise the cost of college even further and shift the burden to hardworking taxpayers,” Bush said.