Making college more accessible—and affordable—for all Americans

Keeping student loan interest rates low: Under my leadership, rates on new subsidized Stafford loans remained at 3.4 percent—instead of doubling to 6.8 percent—this past summer. This action saved students an average of $1,000 on the life of their loans, and I’m committed to keeping interest rates low for student loans moving forward.

Keeping costs down

Education is not a luxury: It is an economic imperative that every hard-working and responsible student should be able to afford. The federal government, states, colleges, and universities all have a role to play in making in making higher education more affordable by reining in college costs, providing value for American families, and preparing students with a solid education to succeed in their careers.

Reforming student aid to promote affordability and value: To keep tuition from spiraling too high and drive greater value, I’ve proposed reforms to federal campus-based aid programs to shift aid away from colleges that fail to keep net tuition down and toward those colleges and universities that do their fair share to keep tuition affordable, provide good value, and serve needy students well. These changes in federal aid to campuses will leverage $10 billion annually to help keep tuition down.

Creating a “Race to the Top” competition for college affordability and completion: I’ve proposed incentives for states to maintain their commitments to higher education through a new $1 billion investment. The “Race to the Top: College Affordability and Completion” challenge aims to increase the number of college graduates and contain the cost of tuition by rewarding states that are willing to systematically change their higher-education policies and practices.