Clinton went on to tout Obama's reform of the federal student loan program that removes private lenders as, as Obama has referred to them, "middlemen."

"The new system sets aside a long reserve in the federal budget, gives money directly to colleges and to students so the loans cost less money, one; two, far more important, every single person after next year that gets a college loan from the federal government, a federal loan, can pay that loan back as your choice as a small fixed percentage of your income for twenty years," Clinton said. "What does that mean? That means that nobody will ever have to drop out of college again because of the cost of college tuition.

"Plus, it means no college graduate will ever have to take a job just to pay the bill. If you get out and you want to go teach in a poor rural school for four or five years even though the tax base is low salary is low, you don't have to worry, your loan obligation will be determined by your salary, not the other way around."

By contrast, Clinton continued, Romney wants to cap funding for Pell grants so the grants would only increase with inflation.

"He wants to make college loans more expensive and harder to repay. On this issue alone every person within the sound of my voice should vote for Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Obamas' first White House dog, Bo, dies Census results show White House doubling down on failure MORE," Clinton said.

A spokeswoman for Romney said the former Massachusetts governor would focus on college affordability as president.

"With only half of new graduates able to find work that uses their degrees in the Obama economy, it’s clear that we can’t afford four more years like the last four," Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement. "Governor Romney is offering real change for a real recovery, and will focus on affordable higher education options and a strong economy that gives every American the opportunity to succeed."

—This story was updated at 12:29 p.m.