Do Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush want to make student debt worse?

On Monday, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton took to the podium at a higher education conference in Dallas to voice their concern that the high costs of going to college these days are hurting young Americans.

“I worry that we’re closing the doors to higher education in our own country,” Clinton said in her 40 minute speech. “This great model that we’ve had that’s meant so much to so many is becoming further and further away from too many.”

She added that America needs to “redefine higher education” by providing more opportunities for young people to gain specific skills and reorienting “our social expectations” to encourage more study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

While Jeb Bush didn’t deliver a formal speech — it was his own conference — he also touched on the affordability of college, saying “Higher education in America has a growing affordability problem while billions in the developing world struggle with accessibility.”

Bush also thinks technological advance may help make college more affordable in the United States and more accessible to foreign students.

What both of them are right about is that college costs are through the roof. What they’re wrong about is that there is an accessibility gap. Hillary is particularly wrong about the current college system being a “great model.”

The issue of college debt for Millennials and the present economy was addressed in a piece published on Rare last Thursday. According to a recent Harvard University survey, 57 percent of Millennials believe student debt is a “major problem” and only 41 percent of them are pleased with President Obama’s work.

There are multiple contributing factors to those numbers including: rising unemployment for the Millennial age bracketdecrease in annual income, more living at home with parents and high delinquency rates on loan payments.

Take this one stunning statistic: Since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the amount of outstanding federal student loan debt owed to the government has skyrocketed, increasing by 463 percent. The balance owed currently stands at $674.5 billion compared to $119.8 billion, where it stood on January 2009.

But the dearth of college accessibility for American students is a myth. Compare the numbers: 1.4 million 16-24-year-olds enrolled in college 1970 vs. 12.5 million in 2010. Accessibility has clearly grown exponentially. Clinton and Bush only seek to continue the trend. The only way to do that in this economy would be to put more federal (taxpayer) money into the ever-inflating college bubble.

As for the “greatness of the model” the federal government is higher education’s main creditor, not private institutions.  The Fed doles out artificially low-interest loans to millions of young adults every year who often show little development after two years of college.

Only 59 percent of college attendees graduate within six years of starting. While this is happening, Roughly 11.5% of student-loan balances were delinquent in the fourth quarter of 2013,” meaning payment hadn’t been made in at least 90 days, according to the Wall Street Journal. That represents a three percent rise from 2012.

Bush and Clinton are said to be mulling over runs for the presidency. If they receive their parties’ nominations, expect the education portion of the debates to be a boring display of me too-ism and group huggery.


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