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CNN Today

President Clinton to Unveil $30-Billion Higher Education Initiative

Aired January 20, 2000 - 1:23 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDRIA HALL, CNN ANCHOR: President Clinton will unveil his $30 billion higher education initiative, today.

CNN's Chris Black joins us from the White House with the very latest on the president's plan to make college more affordable.

Now there's a concept, Chris.

CHRIS BLACK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It sure is, Andria.

President Clinton is continuing to make major announcements in the roll up to next week's State of the Union Address, his last in office. In just a few minutes, the president will be proposing new tax breaks to help middle income families afford college. The College Opportunity Tax Act would create a tax deduction or a credit of up to $10,000 a year to cover tuition and fees for any type of post- secondary education, including graduate school and vocational training. The president is also proposing a $1-billion increase in Pell Grants and work study programs for college students. The price tag: $30 billion over the next 10 years.

The president says he wants to make education more affordable and accessible to all Americans. His secretary of education just explained why education is such a priority for this administration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD RILEY, EDUCATION SECRETARY: Today, there's no more important capital investment than the skills and the knowledge of our citizens. Making college tuition tax deductible is an idea whose time has come. President Clinton's plan does this idea one better by giving families in lower tax brackets the same benefits as their middle-income peers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACK: The president's announcement was delayed just by a little bit because of the first major snowstorm of the year here in Washington, which delayed the arrival of Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. Someone who doesn't have to make a very big commute is also joining the president, today, at that event, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the president's wife, who's expected to run for the New York Senate seat. Polls show that Mrs. Clinton is not doing too well with middle- income suburban voters who care a lot about this issue.

Chris Black, CNN, reporting live from the White House.

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