Making an impassioned plea in a rock-concert-like atmosphere at the Democratic National Convention here on Wednesday night, former President Bill Clinton called on voters to give President Obama a second term in office, and he devoted several minutes of his lengthy and wide-ranging speech to higher-education issues.
Mr. Clinton praised Mr. Obama’s support for community colleges and echoed several other Democrats who have framed support for education as a critical component of reducing unemployment.
He also talked about access and affordability issues, saying that “exploding college costs” were responsible for increasing college dropout rates. Low completion rates, he argued, have pushed the United States to No. 16 in the world in the percentage of young adults who have college degrees.
Offering what was one of the most specific solutions to college affordability at either convention, Mr. Clinton also lauded Mr. Obama’s plan to improve the income-based repayment program for student-loan borrowers whose debt is high relative to their income. Students who qualify for the program can cap their monthly payments on their federal student loans, and, if they meet certain conditions, see their balances forgiven, eventually.
Mr. Clinton’s remarks about income-based repayment drew strong applause line, bringing nearly half of the people in the arena to their feet.