HIllary Clinton's introduces plan to reduce college debt and help loan re-payment

Households earning under $85K get college free
Posted at 5:19 PM, Jul 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-06 21:22:19-04

Hillary Clinton announced big plans Wednesday to make college more affordable for thousands of families in the United States.

Her big push? A debt-free college education for all Americans.

If elected, Clinton said she would eliminate tuition at in-state public colleges and universities first for families making up to $85,000 a year and gradually raising that to $125,000 a year by 2021.

Clinton is also calling for a three-month moratorium on federal student loan repayments. That means that if you're currently repaying loans -- you'd get a three-month break to refinance or restructure.

The median household income in Colorado in 2013 was $59,448, according to the Census bureau. That number is higher than the national median household income of $53,482.

Locally, thousands of families and college students would benefit right away.

Metro State University officials said they have the most low-income students of any university in the state. 

University officials told Denver7 85 percent of Metro State students would qualify for Clinton's plan. Additionally, 32 percent of Metro students are first-generation college graduates.

“Anything that would help a student achieve a college education in a manner that would be as fast as possible and as low cost as possible would be very helpful,” said Cindy Hejl, director of financial aid at Metro State University.

Andy Wymn is a junior at Metro State who was nearly at a loss for words when he read about Clinton’s plan. 

“I’m still paying interest from previous loans and so that would just save money through the whole process,” said Wymn. “That would mean everything, because I think pretty much all students are under $85,000 and for in-state to go free? That makes the whole world different, ya [sic] know?”

But other students Denver7 spoke with are concerned the plan will dilute a college degree, causing students to need more education to get ahead in their careers.

“The degrees aren’t going to be as useful, so you’re going to have to get more education and then you’re not going to be in the job market as long and you’re going to be in school longer,” said Krys Maiorca.

“If everyone is coming for free, then that means that those who graduated, that group is going to be diluted with ineffective workers who just came here because they could," said Jacob Douglas, who’s a Metro State student.

At CU-Boulder, about 5,000 students are high financial need students and would benefit from the plan. Officials at CU-Boulder told Denver7 of the 5,000 students who have high financial needs, about 2,700 of them qualify for Federal Pell grants with average household incomes of about $33,000. 

At the University of Northern Colorado, there are about 3,900 of their 9,000 undergraduate students whose families earn less than $85,000 per year.

Additionally at UNC, there are about 5,250 students whose families earn less than $125,0000 per year.

The plan would cost the federal government about $1 billion dollars.

Editor's Note: Income information was not available for about 2,170 students due to FAFSA either being not submitted or incomplete/invalid.  


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