The first stop during my weekend in New Hampshire with Rand Paul was Spare Time Manchester, a bowling alley that had been papered in “DEFEAT THE WASHINGTON MACHINE. UNLEASH THE AMERICAN DREAM” posters in anticipation of the senator’s visit. Between frames, I asked Paul about something that I’d heard come up time and again while talking to young voters: college debt.
According to data from the Institute for College Access and Success, seven in 10 graduates left school with an average of $29,000 in debt in 2014. That’s a 25% increase from 2008 when the average debt burden was $23,450. While most people in college are feeling this strain, a four-year education is increasingly out of reach for low-income students.
When I asked him about this, Paul came out swinging on Bernie Sanders’ proposal to make in-state four-year tuition free.
“I think there’s an appeal when people offer you something for free. They just don’t think to the next step of, ‘Where’s the free coming from?’ So if you have 1,000 college kids and tell them you’re going to give them free tuition, they’re like, ‘That sounds good, I’m for that,’” he told me. “My next question is, what about free cars? What about free clothes? Free makeup, free shoes? Everything should be free. But it can’t be free, somebody has to pay for it.”
Paul’s answer to rising tuition costs? Distance learning. With the internet, he explained, “One professor can teach everybody in the whole world.” Watch the video above to hear more. And see our earlier interview with Sen. Paul about his criminal justice reform plan.