Democrat Hillary Clinton will release a proposal Monday that her presidential campaign says will tackle the skyrocketing costs of higher education, ensure students who start college finish with a degree and relieve the burden of student debt.
Clinton’s plan, dubbed the New College Compact, requires buy in from the federal government, states and colleges and universities.
With student debt topping $1.2 trillion and schools raising tuition to make up for cuts in state aid, Clinton’s proposal does not go as far as the progressive wing of her party has called for. Many activists want candidates to embrace debt-free college.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley unveiled a proposal a month ago that gives would provide college debt free starting in the next five years in part by calling on states to freeze tuition rates at public colleges and universities and proposing a series of measures that would help those carrying debt. He did not provide a price tag.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would make four years of public college free by imposing a tax on transactions by hedge funds, investment houses and other Wall Street firms. He estimates that his plan would cost $70 billion a year.
Clinton’s plan calls for incentive grants to states that commit to expand their investments in higher education. She would let borrowers refinance their student loans to save money and lower the interest rates on federal loans. She would support private colleges, including those that focus on minorities, and expand educational benefits for those who serve their country.
She will also endorse President Barack Obama’s proposal for free community college, which costs $60 billion over than 10 years.
In total, the plan will cost about $350 billion over the next decade and would be paid for by limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers. The campaign did not release details of those savings.