Hillary's bold plan for higher education

Is student debt or the high cost of college holding you back? Share your story and help us frame the debate for 2016!

Higher education is a cornerstone of the American dream—a pathway for people to expand their horizons and climb the ladder of success.

But over recent decades, two fundamental challenges have made higher education more and more unattainable: states cutting their investment in public colleges and universities, and soaring student debt as costs rise and colleges shift more and more of the burden to students and their families.

This week, Hillary Clinton laid out a bold plan—the New College Compact—that would tackle these two issues head on, using federal aid to leverage a renewed and ongoing investment in public universities and taking bold steps to significantly reduce the debt burden for students.

By tackling student debt, the plan will help families and students not just achieve a college degree, but succeed after college.

For current student loan holders, the New College Compact provides relief by allowing students to refinance high-interest loans at today's rates, as well as making income-based repayment and public service loan programs easier to access.

And for new loans, the compact would slash interest rates so that the government is no longer profiting from students.

Of course, better rates only help if the costs aren't completely out of reach. By incentivizing states to reinvest in public institutions, the compact will both lower the cost of a degree and ensure investment in faculty and instruction.

The New College Compact will deliver systemic change by ensuring shared responsibility between federal and state governments, higher education institutions and American families. For years, the AFT and our affiliates have been calling for this kind of plan. Now we need to stand up and fight to make it a reality.

We endorsed Hillary Clinton because our members and leaders knew she shared our values. This plan shows that she understands the challenges facing higher education.

It addresses the exploding cost of college and the rise of student debt, as well as the need to invest in faculty and instruction. This plan is already receiving high praise from leading activists and organizations like Demos, Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and from members of Congress who have been our champions on this issue for years.

This is the boldest, most comprehensive plan to reclaim the promise of a higher education. You can join our fight for it by sharing your story about student debt or the high cost of college, and helping us frame the debate.