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Week of 4.25.08

Paying for College: Where the Candidates Stand

Helping students get to college is as much a political topic as a social one. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have each released plans for tackling some of the problems associated with college loans and student aid. John McCain has addressed the problem but has not released a specific plan.

In Hillary Clinton's Plan ...

Hillary Clinton
  • The current Hope college tax credit rises from $1,650 to $3,500.

  • The maximum Pell Grant is increased, although there's no specific data on how high.

  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which Clinton says is so complex that it discourages families from applying for student aid, is eliminated. Instead, parents and students could simply check a box on their income tax returns.

  • The Federal Family Education Loan Program, funded privately by banks and lenders who receive subsidies and guarantees from the government, is eliminated. Instead, all federal loans are provided through the Direct Student Loan Program.

  • The college scholarship for those who participate in AmeriCorps full-time for one year is increased from $4,725 to $10,000.

  • Colleges are held accountable though an online college cost calculator, a college graduation and employment rate index, and truth in tuition disclosure.

More on Hillary Clinton's Education Plan


In Barack Obama's Plan ...

Barack Obama
  • The higher education tax credit is increased to $4,000, more than double the current $1,650 of the existing Hope tax credit.

  • Recipients of the new tax credit would be required to perform 100 hours of community service per year.

  • The maximum Pell Grant is increased, although there's no specific data on on how high.

  • Thee Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which he says is too complicated, is eliminated. Students and their parents would simply check a box on their income tax returns to apply for aid.

  • The Federal Family Education Loan Program, funded privately by banks and lenders who receive subsidies and guarantees from the government, is eliminated. Instead, all federal loans are provided through the Direct Student Loan Program.

More on Barack Obama's Education Plan


In John McCain's Plan ...

John McCain John McCain has not released a specific plan related to financing higher education. However, he has proposed a "student loan continuity plan," which calls on the federal government and state governors to anticipate loan problems and expand the lender-of-last resort capabilities for each state's guarantee agency.

John McCain's Economic Plan