Clinton's College Compact Plan appeals to students with loan refinancing options

By Charlotte Collins

As the Democratic primary has progressed, Hillary Clinton has emerged as a leading Democratic candidate for the 2016 election. Historically, college students largely contribute to the Democratic vote, which may make Clinton’s recently announced college plan a key point of interest.

When looking to politicians for a college plan, Aileen Griffin, freshman in DGS, wants an option to pay debt over time. Griffin’s concern is not unique which is why Clinton addresses it in her plan. Dubbed as the “New College Compact,” Clinton’s plan will cost $350 billion dollars and aims to pave the way for better college access and affordability by refinancing loan debt. Clinton’s official web site reads that her plan will be “fully paid for by limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers.” 

The plan would ask states to agree not to cut funding for higher education in order to qualify for federal grants. States would need to set aside $175 billion for more grants and givie students options to refinance their loans at lower interest rates.

University Student Trustee Jaylin McClinton volunteers on Clinton’s campaign and attended a Labor Day themed event Monday, where she addressed campaign topics such as building up unions, paid leave and equal pay. McClinton said Clinton’s plan for financing higher education should appeal to college students, especially those in Illinois, because of recent state cuts to higher education.

“Something like this will really shift the conversation. (Clinton) has proposed that you should be able to refinance your student loans, you can do it with everything else,” he said. 

McClinton added another important factor for students is the points outlined in the plan aimed at lowering interest rates and helping students transition after college. 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is shaping up to be one of Clinton’s most popular Democratic challengers for the presidency. Sanders trails Clinton in most general polls but his support is climbing as the election continues; in recent weeks he took a nine point lead in New Hampshire according to an NBC News/Marist poll released Sunday.

University student Adam Smith, senior in LAS and press and communications coordinator for “Illini for Bernie,” is trying to garner support for Sanders on campus with the pro-Sanders group. He said he believes Sanders’ plan should appeal to students more than Clinton’s because the goal is to eventually eliminate the cost of tuition for students.

“(Clinton’s) plan would make it easier for people to take out loans and not have to repay them at such ridiculously high interest rates, but I don’t think she’s getting to the whole point,” Smith said. “Public schools should not be something that we have to pay for out of pocket, but it should be something that is provided to us just like it is in Europe, just like it is in the Scandinavian countries. Like a public good.”

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