Hillary Clinton is proposing new $1,500 scholarships and expanded access to on-campus child care for college students who are parents – the latest planks in her week-long roll-out of measures designed to rein in the costs of higher education.
The Democratic 2016 presidential front-runner is unveiling her proposal Friday during a town hall in Dubuque, Iowa – part of a swing through the state that includes the “Wing Ding” gathering of hundreds of the party’s activists later in the evening and the Iowa State Fair on Saturday morning.
She’s touring the state alongside former Sen. Tom Harkin, the long-time Iowa lawmaker who was chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Harkin formally endorsed Clinton for president Thursday.
Clinton’s plan includes expanding funding for a program that matches school or state funding for on-campus child care centers from $15 million to $250 million per year. The boost, her campaign said, would create openings for 250,000 more children whose parents are students.
It also includes a new scholarship worth up to $1,500 per year for up to 1 million of those students, helping pay for costs like transportation and child care. To be eligible, students would have to keep a 2.5 grade point average, and states could tailor the application process and eligibility, too.
The scholarship program is inspired, Clinton’s campaign said, by a fund for single parents created in Arkansas while Clinton was the state’s first lady. That fund has awarded nearly 40,000 single-parent scholarships.
It’s part of Clinton’s “New College Compact,” a 10-year, $350 billion proposal that comes as her Democratic opponents – including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley – push college affordability plans of their own.
Clinton is pushing low-interest grants and loans, and offering states incentives to keep college costs down. She said she supports President Barack Obama’s proposal for free community college.
In New Hampshire this week, Clinton said students should “never have to pay more than 10% of their income when repaying the loan.”
“We need to make a quality education affordable and available to anyone who is willing to work for it – without saddling them with decades of debt,” she said.