Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announces new college aid plan

Sen. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for the 2008 election, announced a new college aid plan last Thursday that would increase financial aid to college students.

On her Web site, Clinton provides details of a plan that would lower the cost of college through a $3,500 tuition tax credit, increase Pell Grants and improve college graduation rates.
Overall, Clinton’s plan would designate

$8 billion a year without increasing the nation’s deficit. Instead, it would be funded by eliminating the guaranteed student loan program and modifying estate taxes so that the wealthiest 10,000 estates in America do not receive further tax cuts.

Students who perform public service would also receive additional aid. Clinton’s plan would double the education award to $10,000 for students who serve in AmeriCorps, the public service organization that her husband, former president Bill Clinton, created over a decade ago.

But what most college applicants would appreciate first is Clinton’s proposed elimination of the FAFSA application process.

Clinton said on her Web site that the financial aid form is more lengthy and complicated than a tax return, and it takes Americans more than 100 million hours to complete-the equivalent of 55,000 full-time jobs. Moreover, the government already knows most of the information the form provides. Instead, she proposed adding a box on income tax returns so students can indicate if they would like to apply for financial aid. Then, the Department of Education would mail students a letter telling them exactly how much aid they would receive.

Her goal is to make applying for college easier. Increased and more accessible financial aid would raise the number of college graduates.

“When it comes to higher education-we shouldn’t be playing catch up with the world-we should be leading it,” Clinton said in a press release. “The skills and knowledge of our work force will determine whether America can compete and win in the global economy.”