Clinton and Sanders unite to make college tuition affordable

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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., accompanied by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, speaks during a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., Tuesday, July 12, 2016, where Sanders endorsed Clinton for president.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/ Andrew Harnik |

Hillary Clinton’s recently released student loan forgiveness plan resembles that of Senator Bernie Sanders’, offering most Americans a tuition-free college education and a three-month moratorium on existing student loans.

The moratorium is intended to allow graduates a three-month period to refinance or restructure high-interest debt. In addition to the moratorium, Clinton proposes to allow all Americans from families that make $125,000 or less a year to attend college tuition-free.

Radio-television-film freshman Colton West was thrilled at the news that he may not be looking at the same debt he had previously assumed. West entered UT thinking he would have a debt of $60,000 to $70,000 when he graduated, in addition to the high interest that comes with such outstanding debt.

“If we can get it to where we have tuition free [college] and have some time to figure out how to pay back the money we already owe, that would be really great," West said.

UT’s Office of Financial Aid anticipates graduating students will have spent between $38,504 and $44,240 on their tuition, without including additional costs. For out-of-state students, the anticipated cost for an undergraduate degree is up to $157,080.

Joseph Trahan, public relations junior and communications director for University Democrats, is happy with the change Clinton has made to her platform, but feels it is only one step in the right direction.

“Clinton's plan is in the best interest of college students in our country,” Trahan said. “I believe that her willingness to listen to what Bernie Sanders has to say and her ability to compromise with others is a testament to her effectiveness as a leader. The best aspect of the plan, in my opinion, is the tuition free proposal that calls upon cooperation between both the federal and state governments.”

The presumptive Democratic nominee has been targeting student loans from the outset of her campaign, but it is through collaboration with Senator Sanders, who recently endorsed Clinton, that the new plan was born.

Psychology freshman Miguel Ruiz said there are good and bad sides to the plan. Although he is excited at the prospect of not paying as much for college, he feels too much student loan forgiveness can lead to laziness among students.

“I actually don’t really agree with college being free,” Ruiz said. “Life isn’t free, so you have to work for what you want.”