New College Compact: Hillary Clinton's $350bn plan to help students

Plan would offer free tuition for two-year courses at community colleges and extend generous subsidies to help students attend public universities

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The Independent US

Hillary Clinton, the Democrat front-runner in the race for the White House, has announced a sweeping plan to ease the financial burden on young Americans going to college and pull down interest rates on those who have already graduated with large loans still to pay off.

The “New College Compact”, which she announced at a high school in New Hampshire last night, would cost $350bn over a decade, paid for in part by ending tax deductions for the very wealthy. 

It would offer free tuition for two-year courses at community colleges and extend generous subsidies to help students attend four-year courses at public universities with no or minimal loans.

“One of the single biggest ways we can raise incomes is by making college affordable and available to every American,” Ms Clinton said in an essay accompanying her announcement that was released online. “So today, I am laying out a plan to do just that.” 

 

She said the problem had been exacerbated by states aggressively cutting education budgets, forcing colleges to raise fees. On average, states are paying 20 per cent less on helping their residents attend college than they used to before the 2008 crash.

“College is supposed to help people achieve their dreams,” she went on. “But more and more, paying for college is actually pushing people’s dreams further out of reach.  It’s a betrayal of everything college is mean to represent.” 

The plan’s success would partly rely on offering federal subsidies to states which replenish education budgets and invest in colleges. 

Ms Clinton is clearly hoping to broaden her base by drawing young voters. Doing something about the crippling cost of higher education for families has also become a litmus test for many progressives. 

Some of what she proposed represents an expansion of reforms already set in train by President Barack Obama.

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