Dear Commons Community,
Hillary Clinton made a major policy proposal yesterday regarding college affordability calling for debt-free college for a large percentage of the population. Referring to her “New College Compact“, she would eliminate tuition at in-state public universities for families making under $125,000 by 2021 and restoring year-round Pell Grant funding so students can take summer classes to finish school quicker. Here are highlights as reported in The Huffington Post:
“Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will pursue a debt-free college for all policy, including a proposal to eliminate the cost of college tuition for a significant portion of the public.
The new plan, announced by her campaign Wednesday, incorporates a major plank of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) platform and is a direct result of the private meeting Clinton had with the Vermont senator in June, the campaign said.
Clinton’s new proposals move her beyond previous statements that she would try to make college “as debt-free as possible“ and toward making “debt-free college available to all.”
Clinton is adding three features to her plan for higher education policy, called the “New College Compact.“ They include eliminating tuition at in-state public universities for families making under $125,000 by 2021 and restoring year-round Pell Grant funding so students can take summer classes to finish school quicker.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) proposed a similar plan of making college debt-free within five years when he was still running for the Democratic nomination as well.
Year-round Pell Grants would also help students who must pay tuition to get credit for internships that are required for graduation, including unpaid ones that typically happen during the summer. The year-round grants were cut as part of a 2011 budget deal, but the White House has since pushed to restore funding for them. Pell Grants, which do not have to be repaid and go to lower income students, already cover the smallest portion of the cost to attend college in their four-decade history.
Americans owe more than $1.3 trillion in student debt, larger than any other type of consumer debt aside from mortgages. The share of borrowers who are more than 90 days late on their student loan payments doubled in the past 12 years.
Clinton also promises to issue a three-month moratorium on federal student loan payments as an executive order once she gets into office. The “time-out” from paying back federal loans will give borrowers time to work with the U.S. Department of Education to set up income-based repayment and debt forgiveness options. The Obama administration has faced criticism that too few borrowers were using existing options to reduce federal student loan debt.”
This moves Clinton a bit more to the left and will appeal to students and their parents.