Did Hillary Clinton just win the student vote with this plan?

ByKelly Peeler

Read the full article at Forbes.com >

Monique Lawrence is a student on a mission. As a rising sophomore at Siena College, she is the first in her family to go to college. She knows she has a lot to prove and is not taking the opportunity lightly.  She’s pursuing an aggressive course load to become a computer science major with a double minor in entrepreneurship and women studies, plus a certificate in community development.

She’s been given support through her high school education as an alumna of KIPP Charter School in New York City and she wants to give back. After graduating, it’s her dream to start a company focusing on minorities and women that will give students in middle school and high school access to STEM careers through accredited classes they can take before college, access to mentorship, and career fairs.

But she has an overwhelming amount of student loans. Monique notes that the financial burden she faces would definitely “prevent me from ever actually starting a business.”

Hillary Clinton’s Technology and Innovation Agenda that was recently released is focused on encouraging students like Monique to pursue their ventures by allowing them to defer their federal student loans for 3 years while getting their business running.

The agenda, which would go into effect the first 100 days in office, would also forgive $17,500 in student loans for founders who were working in “distressed communities” or providing “measurable social impact” after 5 years.

The overwhelming 1.3 trillion dollar student loan market will continue to be a hot button issue come November as recent 2016 graduates are the most indebted class in history with the average student owing $37,000. A generation of indebted youth that could otherwise start new businesses has huge potential consequences on overall economic growth.

According to the Kauffman Foundation’s study on The Importance of Young Firms for Economic Growth, companies less than one year old have created an average of 1.5 million jobs per year over the past three decades. The study goes on to note, “new and young companies are the primary source of job creation in the American economy as new businesses account for nearly all net new job creation and almost 20 percent of gross job creation.”

In response to the announcement, there was very little media attention given to student opinions of the agenda. So, does this plan make the cut for students?

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