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Clinton's tech policy includes student loan relief for startups

Engadget Engadget 28/06/2016 Billy Steele

Now that we're down to just one nominee per party, we're starting to hear some finer points of the candidate's platforms. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton revealed a more detailed tech policy today, a plan that includes high-speed internet for every household over the next four years, cybersecurity, net neutrality and more. Those tenets have already been discussed, but the more recent developments include student loan help for entrepreneurs and funding for STEM education.

Clinton wants to allow entrepreneurs to defer student loans with no interest and no payments for up to three years while they work through the startup phase. She also wants to offer a similar benefit to the first 10-20 employees of a new company, not just the founders. For folks who open businesses in "distressed communities" or "provide measurable social impact," Clinton wants to forgive $17,500 worth of student loan debt after five years.

The candidate also has big plants for STEM education, too. She proposes doubling the funding for the Obama Administration's "Computer Science Education for All," including scaling computer science education grant programs. Clinton also aims to train 50,000 computer science teachers in the next 10 years alongside grants that can be used to "redesign" high schools to focus more on STEM education. Proposed programs include the development of maker spaces, maker fairs and robotics competitions in schools or as after-school programs. In terms of higher education, Clinton eyes $10 million for new programs like nanodegrees, accelerated coding courses, certificate programs and online courses.

Clinton's tech policy also includes a mention of immigration. She wants to bypass the detailed green card process for anyone with a masters or PhD in a STEM-related field from an accredited institution. The proposal will "staple" a green card to the degree, allowing international students a path to citizenship. She also supports so-called "startup visas" that allow entrepreneurs the opportunity to come to the US to build a new business.

The policy pledges to uphold net neutrality, offer high-speed internet to every household by 2020, help diversify the tech industry and make the United States Digital Service part of the executive branch on a permanent basis. That office is tasked with updating government processes, in case you needed a refresher. While the platform mentions privacy and encryption, it stops short of any fine details. She discusses the importance of tech companies and law enforcement cooperating with a proposed national commission to "protect the privacy and security of all Americans that use technology." Again, details are scarce when it comes to cybersecurity, but perhaps we'll hear more as November approaches. During that time, we should hear more from presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump as well. He's mostly keyed in on national security and immigration so far.

Hillary Clinton

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