“When it comes to higher education, we shouldn’t be playing catch-up with the world — we should be leading it. Because the skills and knowledge of our workforce will determine whether America can compete and win in the global economy.”
» Source: Hillary for President

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., says she wants to give all Americans who are willing to work hard the tools they need to get ahead. She says her plan will make college more affordable and accessible. Here are some of her proposals.

Lower the cost of college through a $3,500 tuition tax credit

  • Clinton says she’ll more than double the HOPE tax credit, raising the maximum amount of benefits that students and their families can receive from $1,650 to $3,500. Taxpayers would be able to claim 100 percent of the first $1,000 of college expenses and 50 percent of the next $5,000 under this new credit.

Increase the Pell Grant

  • The median income of Pell Grant recipients was $17,692 in 2003-2004, compared with $55,287 for all other undergraduates. Clinton says the Pell Grant needs to be adjusted annually if it is to maintain value.

Strengthen community colleges and training programs

  • Provide $500 million in incentive grants for investments by community colleges to ensure that students complete their degrees, and in partnerships between community colleges and four-year colleges to increase graduation rates at community colleges and promote smooth transfers from community colleges to a four-year college or university.

Improve college graduation rates

  • The $250 million Graduation Fund will set out to close the diploma gap with incentive grants that challenge four-year colleges to launch performance-based efforts to improve their graduation rates, especially among low-income and minority students.

Provide additional aid for people who do public service

  • Double the education award — now called the Segal Education Award — to $10,000 to get it back on pace to covering a meaningful portion of the cost of going to college for people who devote a year or two of full-time public service to our country.

Get rid of the red tape in financial aid

  • Allow people to apply for financial aid by checking a box on their income tax return. Upon checking that box, they will receive a letter from the Department of Education with a coupon showing the amount of federal aid to which they are entitled. They will then include their eligibility information on their college applications, and the schools will reach out directly to the Department of Education to collect the funds.

Provide clear information about the real cost of college well in advance to help families plan

  • As a condition of federal financial aid eligibility, state and local institutions of higher education would be required to set multi-year tuition and fee levels for each group of students at the beginning of each student’s freshman year, so students and families will have a sense of how much their costs will be in the coming years.
*Clinton’s voting record on education issues:
Voted Topic Date
YES $52 million for “21st century community learning centers” Oct. 2005
YES $5 billion for grants to local educational agencies Oct. 2005
YES Shifting $11 billion from corporate tax loopholes to education March 2005
YES Funding smaller classes instead of private tutors May 2001
YES Funding student testing instead of private tutors May 2001
YES Spending $448 billion of tax cuts on education and debt reduction April 2001
Source: On the Issues

*Members of Congress sometimes vote on different versions of a bill. Voting yes or no on one doesn’t mean they’ll vote the same way on succeeding versions.