Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support NHPR's local journalism that brings clarity, context, and community!
0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8d8c0001Click on a photo to find stories by candidate:0000017a-15d9-d736-a57f-17ff8d8c0002More Content:Our Voters Guide provides an overview of all you need to know about the 2016 N.H. Presidential Primary.Click here to explore a calendar of candidate visits and other Primary campaign events.Click here for our Money in Politics stories and data interactives.Visit our Where They Stand series for an overview of the candidates' positions on key policy questions.Visit our series Primary Backstage to learn about the people and places that make the N.H. Primary tick.To see NHPR photos from the campaign trail, visit our Primary 2016 album on Flickr.

On N.H. Campaign Stop, O'Malley Outlines Plan To Cut College Debt

Paige Sutherland for NHPR
Gov. Martin O'Malley reveals plan on how to give Americans an opportunity to access debt-free college in five years.

Former Gov. of Maryland Martin O’Malley laid out his plan to reduce college debt at Saint Anselm’s College Wednesday morning in Manchester.

If elected president the Democratic candidate said he would set a national goal of making a debt-free college education attainable at  public schools across the country in five years.

"I have found in my executive experience that when you set a goal, when you set a deadline, good and smart people will come together to figure out a multitude of ways to move toward that goal. And we need to set the goal of the national of making debt-free college a universal option for any family that chooses it," he told the dozen of current and former students who sat on the panel.

In order to do that O'Malley said as president he would pressure the federal government to shave down interest rates on loans, challenge states to freeze tuition and reduce the cost of state tuition to 10 percent of state median income, instead of the current 20 percent in some states. He also said that income based payment plans should be an automatic option, and that the federal government must work to restore Pell Grants that were cut in recent years.

O’Malley says the $1.3 trillion of debt students are graduating with is hurting the country’s economy. 

“We are the only nation on the planet that saddles our kids with the amount of loan that we saddle our kids with now for doing the right thing and going to college.”

One of the graduates on the panel, 23-year-old Bianca Acebrona Peco, graduated from Franklin Pierce University with over a $100,000 worth of student loans.

"I am suppose to play a great role in the economy and buy a house and a car but I am stuck," she said, adding that most of her paycheck goes towards paying off her loans.

O’Malley has a personal stake in the issues: He and his wife had to take out multiple loans to pay for their two daughters college tuition, $339,200 to be exact. 

He also aims to set a national goal of increasing college completion rates by 25 percent within the next ten years and tripling work study programs that offer students a way to make money while attending classes. 

Related Content

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.