During a town hall at Claflin University in South Carolina hosted by Roland Martin, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she would reverse the Obama Administration’s policies on Parent PLUS Loans.
The Parent PLUS loan fiasco started in 2011 after the Department of Education changed the credit standards for Parent PLUS loans. The change resulted in an overall 3.4 percent decline in enrollment at HBCUs — a decrease of 97 students per HBCU according to the Department of Education’s own statistics and an analysis of that data by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
“Will you reverse that policy?,” Martin asked Clinton today regarding Parent PLUS loan credit standards. She also outlined her plan for HBCUs which includes a push for $25 billion in support for HBCUS.
“These are the places that graduate Black professionals and we need more not fewer and I will reverse the impact of the loan changes. Yes,” Clinton answered directly.
“Those who dropped out, we need to figure out a way to bet them back in and we have to reverse the [inaudible] that led them to drop out,” Clinton added.
Over 28,000 students attending Historically Black Colleges had their education interrupted as a result of their Parents not being able to secure a Parent PLUS loan. The lack of tuition revenue caused HBCUs to collectively lose over $200 million because of the Parent PLUS loan change. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan would later apologize for the decision which caught many college Administrators off guard.
“This is the worst situation I’ve seen in my 35 years as President,” said Dr. William Harvey during the heart of the Parent PLUS crisis in 2013. Dr. Harvey, has been the President of Hampton University since 1978 and he is the Chair of President Obama’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“Some 14,000 HBCU students came to our campuses last year, learned that their Parent PLUS applications had been denied and were sent back home,” Harvey said during a speech at the annual National Association for Equal Opportunity conference (NAFEO) on April 15, 2013 in Washington D.C.