How the Presidential Election and Primary Will Affect Student Debt

Main (Makayla Cook)

By Rebekah Malkin

The primary election is fast approaching for North Carolina and it’s time to ask as students what are each of the candidates individual plans to approach the student debt crisis. Forbes estimates that there is nationally around $1.2 trillion in student debt. If compared to the United States gross domestic product of $16.77 trillion, student debt is almost 8 percent of the GDP, and is continually growing.

This is only adds to the current college tuition inflation of the last ten years.

Hillary Clinton rolled out her student debt plan on August 10, and is calling it “The New College Compact.”

The overall cost of the plan will be $350 billion over the next ten years, with funding coming from a closing of tax loopholes and removing some deductions. Clinton would continue to increase the amount available in National Pell Grants for low-income students.

Clinton also proposes tuition cuts for state-funded schools and more federal investment in colleges, as long as the colleges pledge to invest more in the students in exchange. The specifics of this pledge have not yet been revealed. There would also be more incentives for students who complete their degrees, with the possibility of some reimbursement, but only after graduation. Clinton wants to allow refinancing for students with existing loans.

She also plans to use some of the budgeted $350 billion to decrease current interest rates on student loans. Clinton does not propose an entirely debt free education but one that is as “debt free as possible,” according to Poltico.

Bernie Sanders’ plan is even closer to absolutely debt free. Sanders proposes a “‘Robin Hood’ tax on Wall Street,” according to Inside Higher Ed, to fund his plan. Sanders has always been a vocal opponent of the current student debt system.

Sanders calls his plan the “College for All Act” which would provide totally free tuition for students at any public college or university. He estimates this cost of this plan at $750 billion over the next ten years.

The “Robin Hood” tax would take the form of “a speculation fee on hedge funds and investment houses,” according to Sanders. The actual plan is really simple, and addresses future student loans, rather than current student loans on the whole.

Jeb Bush’s has yet to introduce his own plan, but did comment on Clinton’s plan, and presumably those comments will be incorporated in his future announcement. Overall, Bush would like to increase individual choice in the college loan and grant process. He also wants to decrease the overall cost of college, both public and private.

Bush also says he would like to increase the overall monetary eventual value of a degree, by improving the job market for recent graduates. Overall Bush seems to feel that growing the economy is the best way to improve the student debt crisis.

Donald Trump has yet to reveal his plan for student loans, but has been very vocal about his feelings about the current government student loans system.

Trump feels that, “the government shouldn’t make money on student loans,” according to an interview in Forbes.

Trump promised to fix the economy by creating jobs, and pumping more money into the economy, and claims that this would fix the student loan system. It is important to note that none of the plans include true forgiveness of current student loans.

Leave a comment