The former president explained Hillary Clinton’s plan for affordable college in the packed Hippodrome Theatre in Richmond, Va.
By Alexa Nash
Former president Bill Clinton made a stop in Richmond, Va. to campaign for democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before the Virginia primary March 1, and focused on her plan to make a college education more affordable.
He discussed all aspects of Hillary Clinton’s plan if elected to office, but education was an emphasis as he explained the New College Compact and why it is necessary.
“You have all of these young people that have gotten out of college with tons of debt, and they don’t think they’ll be able to pay the debt, so they move back into their parents’ house,” Bill Clinton said. “Then you have all of these students that are in college, in and out in and out, that can’t pay without borrowing money and they’re worried about it.”
According to hillaryclinton.com, the plan allows students to attend a four-year college or university without having to take out loans by issuing grants to states to invest in public colleges and universities. This way, it will lower total costs and increase graduation rates, as students will be able to afford to attend and remain in college to complete their education. The New College Compact will cost $350 billion over 10 years, paid for by closing tax loopholes and expenditures for the richest citizens.
Bill Clinton stated that tuition will be free for middle and lower class students, and will lower the cost of textbooks and living expenses. Each student will be given access to a work-study position, and is expected to work up to 10 hours per week, which is one way he or she will supplement costs.
“Higher income people should pay their own way,” the former president said.
Currently, Congress sets the interest rates for college loan debt. It is nine percent Bill Clinton said, and continued to explain that a citizen can refinance a home for less than four percent.
“A college loan is the only kind of loan you can’t refinance. Its nuts,” Bill Clinton said. “Let everyone graduate from college debt free.” If every college loan in America was refinanced, it would save 25 million students $2,000 each.
Bill Clinton underlined the fact that college loans should be refinanced like a home mortgage.
“You will never be able to not pay; you won’t have to default, you can move out of your parents’ home and get your own apartment. If you’ve got a great idea for a new app you can go and get a small business loan and it won’t count against your credit,” he said. “It’ll be the best money you’ve ever spent.”
The New College Compact also includes plans to simplify FAFSA and build on TRIO and GEAR UP, both plans for disadvantaged and low-income students.
Institutions will also be required to have transparency on graduation rates, likely earnings of graduates and student debt, so that potential students can easily compare the rates of one institution to another.
The New College Compact will create an income-based repayment plan so that graduates pay at most 10 percent of their income towards student debt. Hillary Clinton also plans to enact a Borrower Bill of Rights, which promises accurate and timely advice on repayment options, according to hillaryclinton.com.
“This is a good deal, and it would get rid of this anxiety and allow people to go get their degree… I think that is really, really important,” Bill Clinton said.
Half of the $350 billion will go towards grants to states, one third will go towards relief of interest on student debt and the last portion of funds will go towards innovation.