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Donald Trump stops in Chester Township, Pa., Thursday for a rally in the battleground state. Hillary Clinton maintains a lighter schedule heading into the first debate next week.

  • Donald Trump faces his first questions over controversies involving his foundation and "birther" comments
  • Mike Pence says there's "far too much talk" about racism and policing.
  • Trump wants to expand stop-and-frisk policies despite concerns that the policies are racially discriminatory
  • Meanwhile, Trump orders a cheese steak from a Philadelphia restaurant with controverisal past
  • Hillary Clinton wonders, "Why aren't I 50 points ahead, you might ask?"

Congress should force colleges to lower costs, Trump says

A student at Westmont College. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
A student at Westmont College. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Donald Trump added a new idea to his thin collection of specific policy proposals, saying the federal government should withhold tax breaks for colleges and universities unless they reduce student costs.

The plan, mentioned during a speech Thursday in Chester Township, Pa., was Trump's first crack at addressing the growing cost of higher education. It's a topic that's been repeatedly highlighted by Hillary Clinton and her rival from the Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders, but largely absent from the Republican candidate's campaign.

Trump criticized colleges and universities for getting "massive tax breaks for their massive endowments" without spending the money to lower costs.

"They should be using the money on students, for tuition, for student life, and for student housing," he said.

Trump said students were "choking" on their loans, and he pledged to work with Congress to make higher education more affordable.

If universities want access to special federal tax breaks and tax dollars, he said, "they are going to make good-faith efforts to reduce the cost of college and student debt, and to spend their endowment on their students rather than other things that don't matter." 

Clinton's plan would allow students to attend in-state public colleges and universities without paying tuition if their families make less than $85,000 annually. The income threshold would increase to $125,000 over four years.

She's also proposed a "timeout" to allow students to work with the U.S. Department of Education to consolidate their loans and reduce their monthly payments.

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