Here’s what 5 college students in South Carolina thought of their conversation with Hillary Clinton

“I wanted to talk to her about college affordability, specifically in the context of HBCUs.”

Here’s what 5 college students in South Carolina thought of their conversation with Hillary Clinton

“I wanted to talk to her about college affordability, specifically in the context of HBCUs.”

Hillary Clinton recently went to Morris College—a historically black college in Sumter, South Carolina—to talk with students and community members about her plan for debt-free college tuition.

Before she spoke, Hillary met with a few students backstage. They discussed the high cost of college, the crisis of student debt in America, and the unique challenges facing students at historically black colleges and universities.

Here’s what the students thought of their conversation.

Here’s what 5 college students in South Carolina thought of their conversation with Hillary Clinton

Karel Gass

21 years old


Sophomore political science major, Morris College


Sumter, South Carolina

You got to meet Hillary before her event at your school. What did you talk about with her?

She asked if any of us knew our interest rates for the loans we had taken out to come to school. And I told her that my combined rate is 13 percent, because I had to take out $10,000 dollars for just one semester. She was genuinely shocked—my interest rate was the highest she’s ever heard. She was clearly, genuinely upset. And she talked how her plans would fix things like this, and better accommodate myself and other students who are dealing with student loans and debt in the future.

Did meeting Hillary change your opinion of her?

Well, she’s had my vote since day one, but I will admit that at the beginning of this campaign I was kind of like, “Well, is she genuine? Does she mean what she says? Is she going to follow through?” But after actually seeing her have a conversation with us, and look us in the eyes, and be genuine, and feel for us, I really believe in all of the ideas and everything that she’s going to put into place. I feel like, having met her one-on-one, I want to go out of my way to support her and help get her ideas and messages out there, so more people can understand why this woman should be the next president of the United States.

What would you tell a young South Carolinian voter who’s still undecided?

I would tell young voters who feel like their vote doesn’t matter in this primary, because we live in a red state, that your vote absolutely does matter. And we have the power to change the politics of our state by voting for someone who is genuine and who is for us, both as young people and as a state.

Here’s what 5 college students in South Carolina thought of their conversation with Hillary Clinton

Levar Kemp

28 years old


Sophomore mass communication major, Morris College


Sumter, South Carolina

Why did you decide to attend Morris College?

I come from a line of HBCU graduates. My family all went to different HBCUs—FAMU, Howard, and some of the smaller ones like Vorhees and Benedict. And I wanted to continue the tradition. So I decided to come to Morris for my undergraduate education, and then after I graduate, I will do my masters at another HBCU, Howard University.

You got to meet Hillary before her event at your school. What did you talk about with her?

In the meeting, when she came in, what caught me was how she automatically started talking about student debt, which was actually what I was going to ask her about—the student debt HBCU students deal with. I wanted to know what her thoughts were on it, and if she was going to have any plans behind those thoughts. And basically, she nailed everything about it right when I met her. So that threw me off because I was gonna ask her the question.

Did meeting Hillary change your opinion of her?

I’d say I’ve gone from supporting her because she’s the most qualified to supporting her because I know how much she cares. I stood right in front of her, and saw her address important issues genuinely and that she really does care. I feel more comfortable with voting for her, yeah. So, since I’ve now had a personal conversation with her, I know for sure how genuine she is.

Here’s what 5 college students in South Carolina thought of their conversation with Hillary Clinton

Moses Pyatt

23 years old


Junior political science major, Morris College


Charleston, South Carolina

Why are you majoring in political science?

I’ve always liked campaigns. I have always been fascinated by the ways in which people get support and votes. But, more recently, I became interested in the governing side of things—the processes and work that go into that. I think that’s actually what pushed me to major in political science, because that’s so interesting. Now I want to go into politics, hopefully. Maybe.

What was it like meeting Hillary?

A little surreal. I wanted to talk to her about college affordability, specifically in the context of HBCUs—what kind of funding would she provide, what kind of programs is she interested in creating. And she answered that question. Thoroughly. And just from being in a room with her and speaking to her … I was already a fan of her, but now I’m an even bigger fan. Meeting her showed the true compassion that she has. She cares about us—we could all tell. That makes me feel great, because that is my candidate, and now I know how much she cares. Also, I was surprised at how short she is. That was unexpected.

What would you tell a young South Carolinian voter who’s still undecided?

I would tell them that there is a serious candidate out there, and she needs your support. This is a serious election. Too much is at stake for us to not participate. We can’t go back. We need to continue to go forward. A vote for Hillary is a vote for forward progress.

Here’s what 5 college students in South Carolina thought of their conversation with Hillary Clinton

Jake Sanders III

20 years old


Junior Christian education major, Morris College


Sumter, South Carolina

Why did you decide to attend Morris College?

I actually had every intention of going to The Citadel, in Charleston. But my mother and grandmother convinced me to try Morris College. And ever since I came to Morris college, I fell in love with the HBCU experience. I am proud to say that I am currently the junior class president and the university chaplain—and I’m also running for first vice president next year. I wouldn’t trade my experience at Morris for the world.

What do you think of Hillary, now that you’ve met her?

I like the fact that she is so down to earth. I really wasn’t expecting that. You know how some people get so high up, they kind of stop being a real person? That’s not her at all. She was very down to earth. I liked how she talked to us as human beings, and I really enjoyed her company.

What did you take out of that meeting?

Meeting Hillary has motivated me to promote her even more. And I feel like she’s really the candidate for our generation. It’s time for us young people to treat ourselves, not cheat ourselves. And we can do that by voting for and supporting Secretary Clinton, because she understands what our needs are and has plans to address them.

Here’s what 5 college students in South Carolina thought of their conversation with Hillary Clinton

Aaron Washington

19 years old


Sophomore criminal justice major, Morris College


Dalzell, South Carolina

Why did you decide to attend Morris College?

I joined the HBCU community because I feel like HBCUs present us with more opportunities than other universities. Schools like Morris, I think, will do more to give us the tools to succeed in a way that other schools can’t.

Did you have a question you wanted to ask Hillary during your meeting?

I actually wanted to speak to her about—it’s similar to the question my friend Karel was talking about—loan forgiveness. I wanted to know her thoughts on how loan forgiveness would affect our state and federal economy. And she gave a long, detailed answer, which was really good.

Did the meeting change your opinion of Hillary?

I knew I would support her. But after getting to see her face-to-face, you know, she was courageous, had leadership, and she was full of energy. I’m more secure with her being the president, and with the ideas she stands for and her viewpoints. Out of all the candidates I’ve heard speak, her arguments weren’t fake. I know she believes them. She spoke from the heart. She was actually real.

Learn more about Hillary’s plan to make college more affordable, relieve the burden of student debt, and support HBCUs across the country.

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