Hillary Clinton Stumps for Higher Education as She Raises Funds

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Hillary Clinton spoke to private business leaders last week asking for their support in her efforts to allow more young people to afford college degrees and in turn allowing them more opportunities at higher-paying jobs, through a partnership with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Clinton said the rising cost of education is what is stopping many students from finishing their degree programs, especially for those with little access to money or grant programs. Also, she said it is harder today to find a job even for those who do hold a degree.

As a result of this, more young people are holding off finding their dream job, buying a house, or even getting married.

“We have a lot more work to do if we want to unleash the full potential and make sure more Americans feel they, too, have a future,” Clinton said to applause. “That’s especially true for our young people. … Many Millennials are still struggling … in a difficult job market.”

Also, many students who do complete their degrees finish with large amounts of student debt “that can feel like an anchor dragging them down,” which can also put their future at risk. She went on to pay tribute to President Obama for raising federal Pell Grants by $1,000.

“More needs to be done,” she said. “Higher education shouldn’t be a privilege for those able to afford it. It should be an opportunity widely available for anybody with the talent, determination and ambition” to learn.

A new program, “Job One”, was started by the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation in an effort to help students by partnering private businesses with higher education.

Barrick Gold, cited by Clinton, has partnered with the Great Basin Community College in Nevada as well as the Shoshone Tribe, with the goal of providing more work experience for students.

“We think that first job is essential,” Clinton said. “I think our young people deserve a fair shot. And Barrick Gold’s investment in Nevada is one example … to prepare young people to compete.”

While asking business leaders to become more involved in higher education within Nevada, she applauded UNLV for their efforts to gain Tier 1 status, as well as for their newly opened medical school.

Clinton was paid $225,000 for the event, an amount that caused great controversy within the university system, as many believed the money could have gone to benefit the school by offering more scholarships. Tuition at the school is expected to rise by 17% over the next four years.

“You could give scholarships to thousands of students, benefit research on campus, give more students grants for research and studying,” Daniel Waqar, student relations director for the UNLV Student Government, told Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston in June.

University officials say the benefit raised $350,000 from donors who paid between $3,000 and $20,000 a piece to attend the dinner, as well as another $235,000 from a pledge drive that was held during the event, more than making up the cost of Clinton’s speech.

The money paid to Clinton is expected to be contributed to the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Earlier this month, Clinton also announced the launch of Books Build Connections, a new program through the American Academy of Pediatrics expected to offer an updated early literacy toolkit for pediatricians and parents. The kit is expected to be shared with 62,000 pediatrician members.