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Changes, The Coming Presidential Elections Can Bring To The Current Student Loan System

With $ 1.3 trillion worth of debt, student loans are a major platform for presidential candidates to get votes. 40 millions americans are under the burden of student loans, and their families are also peripherally affected. Together they make a big chunk of the population expecting the new administration to overhaul the current student loan system in order to make repayment manageable and higher education more affordable. Next year’s presidential candidates have included student loans as one of their main agendas and are leaving no stone unturned.

Here is the list of plans presented by the current candidates:

Bernie Sanders (Democrat and US Senator, Vermont), proposed a plan to completely eliminate tuition for four year public colleges and universities . Under his proposal the federal government would contribute two-thirds of the total fee and the states would take care of the rest. According to him the U.S. should design their higher education system after European countries that offer free or cheap college tuition. Though in such countries where students have provision for cheap or no college tuition, they have to pay it back in future in the form of higher taxes. In addition, he has plans to lower student loan interest rates and allow students to refinance their loans for lower rates. He would also expand Federal Work Study programs to more schools, especially schools that have more low-income students.

Hillary clinton (Democrat and former US Secretary of State, New York) (who had already introduced the Student Borrower Bill of Rights Act while she was a Senator in 2007) discussed her plans for student loan debt in a recent speech. Her agenda for coming elections is to make college and higher education more affordable and lighten the burden of student loan debt. Her previous efforts for student loans have helped to limit payments based on income, discharge student loans in bankruptcy, and simplify loan consolidations. She had also supported the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which helped reduce interest rates on federal loans and increase Pell Grant funding.

Martin O’Malley (Democrat and Former Governor Maryland), has plans to work on reducing tuition cost as well as introducing better repayment plans. In the past he has implemented a four-year tuition freeze that held tuition increases at 3%, during his tenure as Governor of Maryland . He also supported President Obama’s 2010 Income Based Repayment Act. He also want to educate families to go for student loans that fit their pocket considering their family size and income.

Marco Rubio (Republican and US Senator, Florida), has also stated his proposals for student loans clearly. He has shown his expertise on the topic by narrating his own student loan experiences. His proposal includes laws for directing colleges to educate students about the scope of the course they want to take, and making an “Income-Based Repayment System” the automatic repayment method for student loans. He also has an interesting proposal which links students with private investors, who pay for the student’s education and will get a certain percentage of students income for a limited time after completion of education.These investors will take into account the scope of course taken by the student , the university they have joined and an approximation of their future income. Under this plan, borrower will be under no legal obligation to pay back the entire amount.

Jeb Bush (Republican and Former Governor, Florida), has a different point of view towards student loan debt. He wants to introduce less expensive higher education options, so that students don’t have to take huge educational loans or go for loans at all. He emphasized the use of technology (online courses) and non profit schools in order to attain knowledge and a degree without taking out loans.

Rand Paul (Republican and US Senator Kentucky) has not stated his proposal and its feasibility clearly, but he wants to make college education tax deductible. Though his policy is said to be favorable to rich, it is certainly an interesting approach for those who might be interested in his libertarian ethos.

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