Democratic Candidates Debate How to Lower Cost of College Education

Democratic candidates discuss how to reduce the amount of student debt facing Americans at the ABC News Democratic debate.
7:29 | 12/20/15

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Transcript for Democratic Candidates Debate How to Lower Cost of College Education
High cost of college education and for that we turn to the executive director of the New Hampshire institute of politics. Right here at Saint Anselm College Neil about Neil. Here to New Hampshire again as you know this audience is filled with many Saint Anselm College students. And they know. That the outstanding student debt right now. In America is one point three trillion dollars. Private education. Costs have gone up in the last decade 26%. And 40%. For public education. So knowing that we know that you want to make higher education more affordable by how do you really lower the cost senator Sanders you mentioned a few minutes ago. That you want free tuition. For public colleges. And how does that how does that really lower the cost other than just shifting the cost to taxpayers. Well in the electric we have got to work on a two pronged approach and your point is absolutely well taken other cost of college education is escalating a lot fessed up. Hog than the cost of inflation there are a lot of factors involved in that. And that is that we have some colleges and universities that are spending a huge amount of money. On fancy dormitories. And on giant football stadiums maybe we should focus on quality education with well paid faculty members. But I understand that many universities heck of a lot of vice presidents who earn up VP salary. Fought bottom line it's this is the year to what B fifty. If we are going to be competitive in the global economy we need the best educated workforce it is insane to my mind. Hundreds of thousands of young people today right Pollock like people cannot go to college because they cannot a full what their families cannot afford to send them. Millions coming out of schools are you indicated deeply in debt what are we go. My proposal is to put any speculation tax on Wall Street. Raised very substantial sums of money. Not only make public colleges and universities to which should freak but also substantially. Lower interest rates on student debt. US families out Pippen had 6810%. On student debt refinance their homes. At 3% but what sets is but. So I think we need radical changes in the funding of higher education we should look at college today. The way high school was looked at sixty years ago all young people of the ability should be able to get a college education governor O'Malley. How do you propose. Governor O'Malley how do you propose lowering some of these concerts that you retires at this month falls under the category of I have actually dumb that's. As a governor. We actually made the greater investments so that we could go for use in a row without a pennies increased to college tuition. How my plan actually goes further than senator centers because a big chunk of the cost is actually room and board and books and fees so as a nation. We need to increase what we invest in pell grants yes we need to make it easier for parents to refinance but states need to do more as well. And I propose a block grant program that would keep the stay states in the game as well I believe that all of our kids should go into an income based repayment plan. I'm joined tonight by my two daughters Tara and and grace my oldest daughters a teacher. Men their mother's tears while we were proud of them on graduation day where we KD and we're gonna be proud every month for the rest of our lives. I may we had to borrow so much money to send them to college and more not the only ones. Their families all across America who aren't able to contribute to our economy because of this crushing student loan. I also propose that we can pay for this. With they tax on high balling him traits and we need to do because my dad went to college after coming back from World War II on the GI bill but today we're the only nation on the planet. That's saddling our kids with a lifetime of bills that to drag on the economy it's one of the key investments we need to make I was flattered that Secretary Clinton. Two months later borrowed so many of my proposals to incorporate into Hearst. And and our party unlike the Republican Party we actually believe that the more our people learn the more they will learn and higher education should be a right for every kid Secretary Clinton. How does your plan different she from your costs. I have what I call the new college compact because I think everybody house to have some skin in this game Neil. Number one states have been dis investing in higher education in fact I think. New Hampshire in state tuition for public college university is among the highest if not the highest in the country. So states over a period of decades have put their money elsewhere into prisons in the highways in to things other than higher education. So under Mike compact the federal government will match money that that's that the states begin to put back again ought to the higher education system. Secondly. I don't believe in free tuition for everybody I believe we should focus on middle class families working families and were kids. Who have the ambition and the talent to go to college and get ahead so I have proposed debt free tuition. Which I think is affordable and I would move a lot of the pell grant and other aid. Into the arena where could be used for living expenses. So I put all this together again on my web site and am pleased that I've gotten such a good response but I want technically say that. There what are the areas that senator Sanders touched on. In talking about education certainly talking about health care is his act commitment to really changing the systems. Free college. A single Payer system for health care. And it's been estimated we're looking at eighteen to twenty trillion dollars about a 40% increase in the federal budget. And I have. Looked at his proposed plans for health care for example and it really does transfer every bit up our health care system. Including private health care to the states to have the State's run. And I think we've got to be really thoughtful about how we're going to afford what we propose. Which is why everything that I have proposed I will tell you exactly how I'm going to pay for imploding college. Journalists scholars who took part thank you on a Bill Elliott and David thank you we're gonna get right into the senator but is that what I asked about taxes and sign as soon as just she basically asking about that but Secretary Clinton. Is rule is you know because I know you know a lot about health care. You know that the United States for capital pays far in the way more than any all the up country. And it is unfair simply to say how much war the program will cost without. Making sure that people know we are doing away with a clause. A private insurance and that the middle class will be paying substantially less what helped cap on the single pay off. But on the secretary Clinton's what. Because that's what it is that there's always liked your proposal's goal I want to send the about secretary says went to Israel and was pleased and my analysis is that you are gonna have to get more taxes out of middle class families I'm the only progress about day secretary saying let's turn all that middle class tax raises that is without going to hazel as we are magnets to tell.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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