Hillary Clinton: 'Let's Set the Goal of Making College Debt-Free for Everyone'

By Susan Jones | June 28, 2016 | 6:08am EDT
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal in Cincinnati, Monday, June 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(CNSNews.com) - Democrat Hillary Clinton told a campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio on Monday that she wants to "make it right" for "hard-working Americans," including debt-burdened college students.

"Let's set the goal of making college debt-free for everyone," Clinton said, without giving details.

In her remarks, she pointed to one of her own campaign volunteers: "Let's make it right for young people, like Erica Roitblat in West Lake (Ohio)," Clinton said.

"She dreamed her whole life of going to Ohio University in Athens. But the housing crash in 2008 wiped out her parents' savings and their small business. So to get her college degree at a public university, Erica wound up $100,000 in debt. We cannot let this student debt crisis continue; we have got to give hard-working students and families relief.

"And you know what Erica is doing now?" Clinton continued. "She is volunteering for our campaign and working to elect Democrats across Ohio."

(So, according to Mrs. Clinton, a young women with $100,000 in student debt is working for no money.)

Clinton told the crowd she got into the presidential race "because I wanted to even the odds for people who have the odds stacked against them. And this is not a time for half measures," she said.

She laid out "five ambitious goals" for the economy, including goal number two:

"Let's set the goal of making college debt-free for everyone, like Erica," Clinton said.

"And let's provide debt relief -- let's provide debt relief as soon as we can, as soon as we start to work, Elizabeth," Clinton said, addressing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) who was campaigning with her.

"We'll take the day off for the inauguration, and then the Senate, the Congress, the White House, we're going to get to work to give students and their families relief from this debt."

On his Monday talk-radio program, conservative host Rush Limbaugh predicted that Clinton plans to forgive all outstanding student loans.

"I'm going to make a prediction to you," Limbaugh said. "And I've been expecting this for a long time. I think, at some point in this campaign, Hillary is going to propose forgiving all outstanding student loans.  

"She got close to it today (Monday) by saying it was unconscionable or outrageous that students should incur so much debt just trying to get an education. You mark my words.  And Obama and the Democrats run the student loan program now. So, at just the right time, they can announce a plan to forgive all student loans. You wait.  Don't be surprised."

Clinton's rival Bernie Sanders campaigned on a promise of free college tuition for everyone: "I'm going to have a tax on Wall Street speculation to make certain that public colleges and universities in America are tuition free," Sanders said at the Democrat debate on Dec. 20, 2015.

Clinton told the same debate, "I have debt-free tuition plans, free community college plans, getting student debt down." At the time, she directed people to the "New College Compact" found on her campaign website.

That compact says:

-- Students should never have to borrow to pay for tuition, books, and fees to attend a four-year public college in their state under the New College Compact. Pell Grants are not included in the calculation of no-debt-tuition, so Pell recipients will be able to use their grants fully for living expenses. Students at community college will receive free tuition.

-- Students will do their part by contributing their earnings from working 10 hours a week.

-- Families will do their part by making an affordable and realistic family contribution.

-- The federal government will make a major investment in the New College Compact by providing grants to states that commit to these goals, and by cutting interest rates on loans.

-- States will have to step up and meet their obligation to invest in higher education by maintaining current levels of higher education funding and reinvesting over time.

-- Colleges and universities will be accountable for improving outcomes and controlling costs to ensure that tuition is affordable and that students who invest in college leave with a degree.

-- We will encourage innovators who design imaginative new ways of providing a valuable college education to students—while cracking down on abusive practices that burden students with debt without value.

-- A $25 billion fund will support HBCUs (traditionally black schools), HSIs (Hispanic schools), and other MSIs (minority serving institutions) serving a high percentage of Pell Grant recipients to help lower the cost of attendance and improve student outcomes at low-cost, modest-endowment nonprofit private schools.


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