Post-Secondary Education

Q20: Do you support increasing federal funding to support Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and other minority-serving Institutions, which play a crucial role in educating the next generation of leaders in all sectors of society? If yes, please explain.

Clinton: “Historically Black Colleges and Universities play a critical role in our higher education system.  They provide African Americans and other minorities with a quality education, and increase the chances of social mobility and economic security for hundreds of thousands of students each year who have historically faced discriminatory and unequal treatment.  The role of HBCUs has never been more vital, graduating the majority of African American teachers in our country and nearly 1 in 5 African Americans who earn science and engineering BSs and serving more than 300,000 students.  I’ve been proud to support HBCU’s and other minority-serving institutions throughout my career and will continue to do so as president.

 “My New College Compact provides new funding such that any student at a public HBCU or other public minority-serving institution should not have to take out any loans for tuition, fees, or books.  My plan also cuts interest rates if they take out loans to pay living expenses.  In addition, for private HBCUs and other private minority-serving institutions, the compact creates a dedicated $25 billion fund to provide support to private nonprofit schools that serve low- and middle-income students and helps them build the skills they need , of which private HBCUs are a prime example.  This is all in addition to other proposals – from cutting interest rates to adding new loan protections –that apply to all schools including HBCUs.”

student loan programs does not unreasonably restrict HBCU students and their parents from accessing federal loans.”

Sanders: Yes. “America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities represent less than 4% of the nation’s higher education institutions, but they graduate 50% of bachelor’s degree-prepared African American teachers. These colleges and universities are vital to primary education in the United States. As I believe higher education should be accessible to all Americans, I support making public universities and community colleges tuition-free. While this benefits all universities, it should be highly beneficial to public Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“Many HBCU’s have struggled financially in recent years from a lack of federal resources, among other things. The federal government currently spends about $300 million to strengthen programming at HBCU’s- down $50 million since 2010. That is unacceptable. In my view, we need a dedicated fund to support HBCU’s and other minority serving institutions keep their costs down.

“HBCU’s continue to play a vital role in our nation’s system of higher education. We have a responsibility to make sure they are strengthened.”

Bush:  Yes.

Carson: “Our focus must not be on increasing funding for institutions and programs.  We must support students and their dreams of education.”

Q21: Do you support a federal program that provides two years of free community college for those students wanting to attend as well as covers a significant amount of the 2 year costs for students attending an HBCU or other minority-serving institution? 

 Clinton: “My New College Compact includes funding to partner with states to ensure that students at community college do not have to pay a dime for tuition.  And my plan provides significant new funding to both public and private HBCUs (and other minority-serving institutions) and works to ease the policies governing transfer-credits for students who wish to earn a bachelor’s degree at a 4-year institution after receiving an associate’s degree at a 2-year institution.

The result is a compact that completely covers free community college and will also provide new support for students who decide to do an addition two years at an HBCU or other minority-serving institution to earn a bachelor’s degree.”

 Sanders: Yes. “In a highly competitive global economy, we need the best-educated workforce in the world. It is insane and counter-productive to the best interests of our country and our future, that hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college, and that millions of others leave school with a mountain of debt that burdens them for decades. That shortsighted path to the future must end.

“As President, I will fight to make sure that every American who studies hard in school can go to college regardless of how much money their parents make and without going deeply into debt.

“I have introduced a plan to make all public colleges and universities tuition free, including community colleges. My plan would also substantially reduce student debt by allowing students to re-finance student loans at today’s low interest rates, among other things. This is not a radical idea. Last year, Germany eliminated tuition because they believed that charging students $1,300 per year was discouraging Germans from going to college. Next year, Chile will do the same. Finland, Norway, Sweden and many other countries around the world also offer free college to all of their citizens. If other countries can take this action, so can the United States of America.

“In fact, it’s what many of our colleges and universities used to do. The University of California system offered free tuition at its schools until the 1980s. In 1965, average tuition at a four-year public university was just $243 and many of the best colleges – including the City University of New York – did not charge any tuition at all.

“The cost of this plan is fully paid for by imposing a financial transactions tax of a fraction of a percent on Wall Street speculators who nearly destroyed the economy seven years ago. More than 1,000 economists have endorsed a tax on Wall Street speculation and today some 40 countries throughout the world have imposed a similar tax including Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, and China. If the taxpayers of this country could bailout Wall Street in 2008, we can make colleges and universities tuition free and debt free throughout the country.

Bush: No Comment.

Carson: “There has been much talk in the last months about free college.  However there has been very little said about how this is to be funded.  The reality is that our nation is facing $19 Trillion in debt.  While free college sounds like a great campaign promise, it is a promise that cannot be delivered.”

 Q22: Do you support federal funding to support career technical schools?

Clinton: “There are so many effective career and technical education programs in addition to the traditional bachelor’s degree, from certificate programs to new programs in manufacturing and health care serves to the computer coding boot camps that have sprouted around the country.  And my hope is online education will get better every year too. So we need to encourage many ways for people to get the skills they need to build good lives for themselves and their families.  And that’s why my plan does exactly that. I provide added support for career and technical education so that students who want to earn these skills can do so”


Sanders: Yes. “Yes, but this funding needs to be targeted to schools that are providing a quality education and have a proven track record of successfully training students for good paying jobs.”

Bush:  No Comment.

Carson: “Funding exists to help students who desire careers and skill development in tech education that is needed in the economy and workforce.  It should be the demanded skills.”


Q23: Do you have a plan to reduce student debt?

Clinton: “There are 40 million Americans with student debt, and too many of them struggle to keep up with loan payments.  Millions of borrowers are delinquent or in default.  The collective amount of student debt is staggering: $1.2 trillion.  It has doubled since the onset of the financial crisis.  This debt is not just unfair to borrowers: It holds all of us back.  It discourages borrowers from starting families and businesses and discourages others from enrolling in college.  The parents and grandparents who have taken out or cosigned student loans have also suffered.

I have released a detailed plan to take on this issue.  My plan will enable millions of borrowers to refinance at low rates, ensure that they never have to pay more than 10 percent of their income by simplifying and promoting income-based repayment for borrowers and discipline predatory schools, lenders, and bill collectors.  This ensures that in addition to ensuring that costs are no longer a barrier for students who are applying to college today. We take concrete steps to reduce the burden on the protect students who have already accumulated debt.”

Sanders: Yes. “Not only would my College for All plan make public colleges and universities tuition free, it would also substantially reduce student debt. Under my plan, student loan interest rates on undergraduate loans would be cut almost in half from about 4.29% down to just 2.37 percent. It would allow Americans to refinance student loans at today’s low interest rates. It makes no sense that you can get an auto loan today with an interest rate of 2.5%, but millions of Americans pay interest rates of 6, 8, or 10 percent on student loans. That is unacceptable.

“I would also work to stop the federal government from making a profit off of student loan programs. Over the next decade, It has been estimated that the federal government will make a profit of over $110 billion on these programs. This is morally wrong and it is bad economics. As President, I will prevent the federal government from profiteering on the backs of college students and use this money to significantly lower student loan interest rates.”

Bush: Yes.

Carson: “Reducing Student loan debt requires tough decisions by student and family borrowers and accountability by colleges and universities.  Students must make tough decisions on finding colleges options that are within their budget.  Colleges and universities must be held accountable for unreasonable cost increases.  One creative option to control student loan debt that a Carson administration would consider is having students pay the loan and colleges and universities pay the interest.  This would encourage colleges and universities to more aggressively monitor tuition hikes.”