Second, consider the interlocking issues of higher education, student debt, and inequality, all of which are immensely important to a millennial generation that has been scarred by the Great Recession and has mostly aligned itself with the center-left. Obama has made economic inequality a consistent theme of his second term, calling it “the defining challenge of our time.”
When it comes to the financial strain weighing on young people, Obama has taken action against both skyrocketing tuition rates and burdensome student debt. He developed a federal rating system to grade colleges based on their affordability. He urged Congress to go further and tie the system to federal student aid.
For student borrowers already weighed down by debt, Obama has expanded capped repayment and loan forgiveness options. More borrowers can now limit their federal student loan payments to 10 percent of their income, with any remaining balance forgiven after 20 years of repayment.
Clinton could make college more affordable for more students by resurrecting a promising idea that she briefly endorsed in her 2008 campaign. The idea would create “baby bonds” — savings devices that the government would endow to every newborn. This would give “every baby born in America a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so when that young person turns 18, if they have finished high school, they will be able to access it to go to college,” Clinton said at the time.