Election 2016: Inside the Candidate’s Education Platform

Brandi Abrams


Nothing elicits a visceral response like a conversation about politics.  This election season, more time is being spent covering who said what horrible thing, or who sent what type of email instead of focusing on the facts.  

This article is an attempt at a bipartisan explanation of the candidate’s higher education platforms.  We at The Beacon are attempting to explain how each candidate would impact the student experience here at Southern Maine Community College without bias; visceral response notwithstanding.  Both Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump have dedicated websites that explain their respective platforms on any issue one can imagine, but in regard to education, one candidate has a well thought out plan, while the other does not.  

Much like Donald’s ever elusive tax returns, his education platform is basically missing, and like his tax returns, we’re expected to believe the facts are in order, and in our best interest.  His education platform only addresses higher education two times.  Donald states that he will “work with congress on reforms to ensure universities are making a good faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt.”  He goes on to say that post-secondary education “will be easier to access, pay for, and finish.”  Donald Trump’s plan for higher education is a “good faith effort.”  

He does not address the astronomical interest rates students face when repaying student debt.  He also does not address the plight of college students with children of their own, nor does he address the difficulty families who make under $125,000 a year have funding their children’s education.  He has said that he will not back debt-free or tuition-free higher education.  At a CNN town-hall event Donald said that “education was one of the three most important priorities of the federal government.”  Still, he provides no educational plan for “making America great again.”  Perhaps greatness is not impacted by educational opportunities.

Hillary Clinton’s education platform would drastically change the lives and experiences of students here at SMCC.  

Secretary Clinton believes that everyone deserves a chance at higher education regardless of their socioeconomic status.  Her plan would use state and federal funds to pay community college tuition completely.  Tuition at SMCC would be free.  Free.  But wait, it gets better.  In the beginning, students from families who make $85,000 or less each year would be able to go to an in-state public college or university for free.  Free!

By 2021 families making $125,000 would also be eligible for free in-state college tuition.  Free.  In regard to student loans, Ms. Clinton’s educational plan states that students will never be expected to pay back more than 10% of their income, and after 20 years, any remaining college debt will be forgiven.  She also has a plan for delinquent borrowers to get out of default and get back on their feet, and she will “crack down on predatory schools, lenders, and bill collectors.”  

Secretary Clinton also has creative ideas for paying back education debt.  She plans on using a payroll deduction system to simplify and reduce costs associated with loan repayment.  Also, if elected, Ms. Clinton will take immediate executive action, and offer a 3 month moratorium on student loan payments to take advantage of the new initiatives.  Ms. Clinton also has a plan to increase funding for quality child care on campus for student parents, as well as offering student parents extra scholarships to help with the expenses associated with raising children.  

These are the facts.  The choice is yours.  Vote.  If you would like to read more about each of the candidates platforms, information can be found at www.hillaryclinton.com and www.donaldjtrump.com


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