Democrats’ Student Loan Forgiveness
Democrats have long been more likely than Republicans to support student loan forgiveness and other measures aimed at helping young voters. And as the 2020 presidential campaign heats up, that trend is only going to get stronger. Here’s what Democratic presidential candidates have said about student loan forgiveness:
Democrats have several proposals for student loan forgiveness
Democrats have several proposals for student loan forgiveness. The current Democratic president, Barack Obama, has proposed the idea of student loan forgiveness. Other Democrats have also proposed plans to help borrowers save money on their loans, and some states have created their own programs to lower costs for students who attend state schools.
Many people support the idea of forgiving student loan debt because it would help recent graduates start over financially without having to worry about paying back their student loans. However, critics say that eliminating all debt would not solve the underlying problems with higher education in America: rising tuition costs and fewer grants from universities than in years past.”
Student loan debt in the United States is now more than $1.5 trillion
Student loan debt in the United States is now more than $1.5 trillion. That’s more than all credit card and auto loans in the nation combined.
It’s a problem for many people, and it has become an even bigger one in recent years as college costs have risen dramatically while wages have remained stagnant. This can be a serious issue if you’re trying to get out of debt, but there are ways to alleviate it.
Many Democratic politicians have made student loan forgiveness a key part of their campaigns
Democratic politicians have made student loan forgiveness a key part of their campaign platforms. It’s no surprise that they’ve done so: according to Ipsos polling data, young voters are more concerned about student debt than any other age group in the U.S., with 73% saying it will affect their decision on who to vote for.
This is because young people are not just affected by high student loans; we’re living with them every day, and they literally shape our lives as much as any other factor does. Some may be lucky enough to attend college without having to take out loans at all (yay!), but if you do end up borrowing money for your education (and most Americans do), then your life will be shaped by them: whether or not you can buy a house or car; whether or not you’ll ever be able to retire; whether or not you’ll have kids; etc., etc., etc…
Here’s what Democratic presidential candidates have said about student loan forgiveness
Candidates in the 2020 presidential election are touting various proposals that would help Americans pay off their student loans.
Student loan debt in the United States is now more than $1.5 trillion, according to a 2019 report by Experian. A full 15% of all outstanding student loans are at least 90 days delinquent or have gone into default, which means borrowers have stopped making payments on their debts and may be facing legal action from lenders.
Many Democratic politicians have made student loan forgiveness a key part of their campaigns—and with good reason: Nearly 80% of voters support some form of relief for young people who are unable to make ends meet due to debt loads.
Many Democrats have called for canceling student debt entirely.
It’s a major issue in the Democratic primary.
Some candidates have called for a full cancellation of student debt, while others have proposed debt relief or forgiveness for students who go into public service. Entirely eliminating someone’s student loan debt is a big promise, but it’s also one that some Democratic candidates are making without much attention to how they’d actually implement such an idea. As Matt Bruenig wrote at Jacobin: “It’s really easy to say you want free college. It’s hard to decide how you would pay for it.”
Some Democratic presidential candidates have pitched other ways to tackle rising college costs and the resulting debt crisis.
Some Democratic presidential candidates have pitched other ways to tackle rising college costs and the resulting debt crisis. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for example, has proposed eliminating tuition at public colleges or universities for anyone who lives in a household with an income under $100,000. She also wants to forgive all student loan debt after 15 years of payments — as opposed to the current policy of canceling it only if you have not made a payment in 10 years — and allow those with existing student loans to refinance them at lower rates.
Other Democrats are proposing ideas that would require no new spending but would reform how the federal government oversees student loans and grants money through them: Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., supports creating a federal grant system that covers 100 percent of tuition and fees at qualifying schools; Rep Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., wants students who borrow more than $50,000 from their parents’ retirement funds (or whatever amount is considered excessive) to pay back double what they borrowed; former Housing Secretary Julian Castro wants to redirect some federal dollars away from higher education institutions toward scholarships for low-income students instead — though Castro has yet to specify which programs he’d cut funds from or how much money he’d reallocate toward his plan’s goal (while not specifying any dollar amounts).
Democrats and Republicans might be more likely to agree on student debt relief than you’d expect.
Student loan forgiveness is a bipartisan issue. Both Democrats and Republicans have proposed solutions to the student debt crisis. A few years ago, President Obama announced plans to cancel all student debt for approximately 44 million Americans. More recently, President Trump called for a plan that would allow borrowers to pay back their loans as a percentage of their income. This would mean that if you make $50,000 per year and have $30,000 in student loans left over from school, you’d only have to pay back 10% of your income (the other 90% is forgiven). While these ideas seem like two opposites—canceling ALL student debt versus forgiving a portion on an individual basis—they actually aren’t mutually exclusive: both would help alleviate some of the burden placed upon college graduates saddled with mountains of debt after graduation. They just do so differently!
Student loan forgiveness has become a key issue in the Democratic presidential primaries
Student loan forgiveness has become a key issue in the Democratic presidential primaries, as candidates vie to offer students the most debt relief.
Democrats have several proposals for student loan forgiveness, which include:
- Free college tuition at public colleges and universities
- Student loan refinancing that provides borrowers a lower interest rate on their loans
- Tax credits of up to $2,500 per year of eligible education expenses paid while enrolled in a degree program or certificate program at an accredited institution
With student loan debt becoming an increasing issue for voters and politicians alike, it seems likely that we’ll see more talk about these proposals in the months to come.