Student Debt Is At $1.2 Trillion. Here's What Hillary Clinton Wants To Do About It.

Could this be a reality?

Armed with a degree and the indefatigable spirit of youth, fresh grads dive headfirst into the less-than-savory real world often only to be crushed by unscrupulous employers, a yet-to-recover job market and massive student loan debt.

In fact, the situation has become so dire that even the fractured partisanship of Washington, D.C. can agree on this one issue — growing student debt has to be addressed. 

As more presidential candidates put forward their proposals to combat this concern, on Monday, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton announced a $350 billion plan over 10 years to eradicate student loan debt.

Clinton's proposal promises students a four-year public college education "without taking loans for tuition" and free community college.

How exactly could that happen?

According to Clinton's plan, $175 billion in grants would be allocated to states that guarantee that students won't have to take out loans to pay for tuition at four-year colleges. 

But to qualify for those grants, states would have to up their budgets for higher education and make efforts to slow the increase of tuition, though states aren't required to cap it. 

Her proposal also allows for refinancing private loans at lower interest rates and students to use their Pell Grants for living expenses. Colleges whose graduates cannot repay their loans will also have penalties imposed upon them. 

Who will pay for it?

It's a lot of money, but not much compared to the absurd $1.2 trillion in American student loan debt.

Clinton's plan would pay the money by limiting the value of itemized deductions for wealthy families' tax returns, the New York Times reported. Those parts of the proposal would require congressional support. 

Whether or not the plan actually gains traction, it's a good sign that the leading Democratic candidate has joined her other contenders in setting their sights on this country's crippling student loan debt problem. And if the attention continues on this trajectory, it will surely be a crucial issue coming into the 2016 presidential election. 

Cover image via John Moore/Getty Images News