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Clinton, Sanders Push Tuition-Free College Plan

September 29, 2016

The Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, joined with her primary rival Senator Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire Wednesday to promote a tuition-free college plan they said would open access to higher education and free young people to pursue their goals without burdensome student loan debt.

After spending much of the primary campaign sparring over Sanders's proposal to make public colleges and universities free, Clinton in July revised her own plan to make four-year public institutions free to students with family incomes up to $125,000 by 2021. Clinton's proposal, Sanders said, "tells us that if you are a low-income family, a working-class family, if your kid works hard and studies well -- regardless of the income of your family -- your kid will be able to make it into college. That is a big deal."

The Democrats appeared at a campaign event at the University of New Hampshire. The state of New Hampshire ranks second over all for the average debt of graduates of four-year colleges and universities.

Clinton said her plan would also address the challenges of borrowers repaying student loans by allowing them to refinance their debt at lower rates. She specifically identified high student loan interest rates as a major obstacle for recent college graduates looking to start a business or take other risks. She also used the event to point voters toward the college cost calculator released by her campaign earlier this month. "We are trying to make it as specific as possible, because I don't want anybody to miss out on what this plan can do for you," she said.

Sanders said the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, of which he is a member, would pass Clinton's tuition-free college plan. "I will work with President Clinton to make sure that this legislation is passed as quickly as we possibly can," he said. "And to make that happen we need your help."

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Andrew Kreighbaum

Andrew Kreighbaum joins Inside Higher Ed as our federal policy reporter. Andrew comes to us from The Investigative Reporting Workshop. He received his master's in data journalism at the University of Missouri, and has interned at USA Today and a national journalism institute in Columbia, MO. Before getting his master's, Andrew spent three years covering government and education at local papers in El Paso, McAllen and Laredo, Texas. He graduated in 2010 from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in history and was news editor at The Daily Texan.

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