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Louisiana congressman says Sanders' tuition proposal leaves black colleges 'in the cold'

By Ann Marie Awad   |   Feb. 16, 2016 at 7:42 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Rep. Cedric Richmond, a supporter of Hillary Clinton, said Sen. Bernie Sanders' plan for free public college tuition leaves students at historically black colleges "out in the cold."

"It's fairly misleading that Sen. Bernie Sanders is kicking off a tour of Historically Black Colleges and Universities without mentioning that his plan leaves many of their students out in the cold," the Louisiana Democrat said in a statement released by Clinton's campaign on Tuesday. "While Hillary Clinton has made HBCUs a priority in her higher education plan, Bernie Sanders' doesn't even mention HBCUs once in his proposal."

Sanders announced a tour of HBCUs last month, and spoke at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., Tuesday night.

"As a graduate of Morehouse College, I know the importance of protecting and strengthening the many private HBCs that are educating the next generation of black leaders," Richmond wrote. "As Senator Sanders promotes his HBCU tour, he owes it to the students to explain why half of the HBCUs in the country aren't worth any investment."

There are 100 HBCUs in the United States -- 51 public and 49 private. Sanders' proposal to make college tuition free only focuses on public colleges.

However, students at private schools aren't completely forgotten in Sanders' plan.

Proposals that would lower interest rates on student loans and allow people to refinance at lower rates would benefit all students, whether they attend a public or private school.

Clinton's education plan carves out proposals tailored for HBCUs. For public HBCUs, she would provide more federal funding -- particularly for schools that enroll low and middle income students.

One provision that targets private HBCUs would create a $25 billion fund to pay tuition and fees for low-to-middle income students. For both types, she proposes lower interest rates and tax credits, among other types of post-grad financial support.

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