Clinton Allies Continue to Stress Issue of Black Colleges

February 22, 2016

Allies of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign continue to push hard on the issue of historically black colleges, arguing that the college affordability plan of Senator Bernie Sanders, Clinton's rival for the Democratic nomination, would hurt these institutions. The Clinton plan, unlike the Sanders plan, does not promise free college for everyone at public colleges, and also includes funds for private historically black colleges and other institutions that serve many disadvantaged students. The comparison is getting lots of attention from Clinton allies in the days ahead of the Democratic primary in South Carolina, where black voters are key.

U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, spoke of the issue in endorsing Clinton on Friday, and then he focused on it again in an interview with BuzzFeed News on Saturday. In the interview, he predicted that free college at public institutions would kill some private black colleges.

“You’ve got to think about the consequences of things,” Clyburn said. “[If] you start handing out two years of free college at public institutions, are you ready for all the black, private HBCUs to close down? That’s what’s going to happen …. Tougaloo College in Mississippi will be closed if you can go to Jackson State for free.”

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