Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lamented increasing student debt at a speech she gave Monday for which she was paid $225,000 by a university that recently announced it would raise its tuition by 17 percent over four years.
“Millions of other young people are burdened by student debt that can feel like an anchor tied to their feet dragging them down,” Clinton told attendees at an event hosted by the UNLV Foundation.
The former first lady was paid handsomely for the 90 minute event: $225,000 according to a contract first obtained by The Daily Caller.
Though Clinton’s contract specified that the event was closed to the press and that her speech and a follow-up Q&A could not be recorded, America Rising, a conservative operative group, recorded part of Clinton’s remarks and published video to its website.
The hefty payout, which will go to the Clinton Foundation rather than Clinton herself, was a source of frustration for some UNLV students who protested the arrangement earlier this year. (RELATED: University Contract Details Hillary Clinton Speech Demands)
They criticized spending money for the event despite a recent decision by the university’s board of regents to raise tuition four percent per year for four years.
“Higher education shouldn’t be a privilege for those able to afford,” Clinton told the crowd on Monday, according to Steve Sebelius, a political columnist at the Las Vegas Journal-Review. “It should be an opportunity widely available to everybody.”
According to reports from some in attendance at the $200 per plate event, Clinton’s remarks were guarded and stale — typical of most speeches she has given recently, as she reportedly prepares for a 2016 presidential bid.
“Anyone in this room could have given this speech,” tweeted Jon Ralston, a Nevada political journalist. “I am not kidding. I would have given it for a lot less.”
“Main speech over. Worth $225,000? I’m going to say, no,” tweeted Sebelius.
Main speech over. Worth $225,000? I’m going to say, no.
— Steve Sebelius (@SteveSebelius) October 14, 2014