By Andria Dawson
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Democrat Hillary Clinton plans to make in-state public college and university tuition free for most students if she’s elected president. Republican Donald Trump proposes a 15-year student loan repayment plan if he wins. Camden County College students see pros and cons in both ideas.
Clinton’s New College Compact plan promises students from low- and middle-income families will be able to attend a four-year in-state college or university or a community college tuition free.
“Families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state public colleges and universities – covering more than 80 percent of all families. From the start of this plan, every student from a family making $85,000 a year or less will be able to go to a four-year public college or university tuition free. This income threshold will increase by $10,000 a year every year over the next four years so that by 2021, all students with a family income of $125,000 will have the opportunity to pay no tuition,” the compact states.
“It seems like a cool idea but it will cost government a lot of money, which will fall back on taxpayers,” said Marcus Wright, a Camden County College student.
“Clinton’s plan is realistic. Free college is already a thing for some other countries, which proves it could be possible in the U.S.,” said Jacki Gross, a Camden County College student.
At a town hall meeting in Wisconsin, a doctoral student asked Trump what his plans were for free college or lower tuition. Trump responded, “Well, there is no such thing as free education because you know that ultimately somebody else is going to have to pay for that education. The biggest problem is you have student debt and you’re a good student, you went to a wonderful college, everything’s great and then you look for a job and you can’t get a job.”
“I agree we need to make jobs for graduates but school shouldn’t take your whole life to pay off,” Wright said.
Clinton’s proposed three-month moratorium will offer students who have already graduated the opportunity to refinance loans, make payments based on income and lower interest rates.
“Refinancing would help 25 million borrowers across the country, with the typical borrower saving $2,000 over the life of the loan,” she states.
Trump refers to student debt as a “crisis” and “unfair” and promises to change it with his student loan program.
“We would cap repayment for an affordable portion of the borrower’s income, 12.5 percent,” Trump said at a rally in Columbus, Ohio. “And if borrowers work hard and make their full payments for 15 years, we’ll let them get on with their lives.”
“I don’t feel that the 15-year loan repayment program is realistic for everyone,” said Gross.
“I feel like Trump’s policy could be great, but it still seems to be more about the money. However, it seems realistic,” said Bryce Sydnor, a Camden County College student.