U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton on Monday unveiled a 350-billion-dollar higher education plan aimed at cutting college tuition and easing debt burdens for college loanees.
Dubbed the New College Compact, the plan seeks to reduce the cost of four-year public colleges to such an extent that a loan would be unnecessary, and to make two-year community colleges tuition-free.
For those already with a student debt, the plan seeks to reduce the interest rates by allowing refinancing at current federal rates. The Clinton camp estimated that about 25 million borrowers would benefit from the plan.
Prior to her announcement, Clinton's two other major primary challengers, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, had already proposed their own more radical versions of college affordability plan, including eliminating tuition and fees for public universities.
"We can't expect the federal government just to pay the bill for free. That's not how America works," said Clinton at a rally in New Hampshire without publicly criticizing her Democratic rivals.
Although Clinton's plan covers all the fees for military veterans, lower-income students and those who participate in a national service program, most students and their families will still have to pay certain proportion of the cost and students will also be required to contribute wages from ten hours of work per week.
The proposal, estimated to cost the federal government 350 billion dollars in a decade, could face formidable opposition from the Republican Party because the cost will come from trimming tax deductions for the richest Americans.