Democrat Martin O'Malley is calling the high cost of college a "crisis" as he lays out a goal of debt-free tuition for all students at public colleges and universities within five years if elected president.
O'Malley, a former governor of Maryland, will outline his plan Wednesday at an event in the early-voting state of New Hampshire. O'Malley is struggling to catch fire with Democratic voters who are preoccupied with rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Focusing on college costs could help him make inroads with younger voters in New Hampshire, where the average student loan debt burden is the highest in the nation. But he's not alone in addressing the problem. Sanders is calling for free college tuition and has introduced legislation in the Senate to tax financial transactions to pay for it. Clinton has emphasized the need to lower college costs but has yet to be specific on policy.