Let’s Get Political – Student Loan Debt: Where do they stand?


Contributing Writer

While the presidential election has been well-covered by many media outlets in the past weeks, and with many comments from the candidates getting media attention, there are still many confused and unaware of the candidates and their stances. 

There are some issues that impact college students more than others. When looking at many of the candidates’ stances, a few of the more referenced candidates have a plan to help alleviate the costs of higher education. 

Many democratic candidates, including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Lincoln Chafee and Martin O’Malley, are pushing for federal funding to offset debt for students. 

According to insidehighered.com, Chafee attributed “access to good education and the ability to do so without acquiring a high student debt” is “what makes America great.” 

O’Malley proposed that the U.S. can cap tuition at 10 percent of a state’s median income at four-year colleges and at five percent at two-year schools, with the federal government kicking in matching grants to help states accomplish the goal, according to the Washington Post. 

According to Forbes Magazine, Sanders’ plan would entirely eliminate undergraduate tuition at public universities and set up work-study programs for those at private universities. 

Under Sanders’ plan, the federal costs would be offset by taxes on transactions by hedge funds and investment houses. According to insidehighered.com, Clinton stated “no student should have to borrow to pay tuition at a public college or university.” 

The majority of the republican candidates, on the other hand, don’t agree with this idea of federal funding for higher education. Two republican frontrunners, Jeb Bush and Ben Carson, both disagree with Clinton’s proposal, saying that there are other alternatives. 

According to insidehighered.com, Bush called Clinton’s plan fiscally irresponsible, saying that it would push the burden on the taxpayers, and he suggests that Americans attempt a reform in higher education with aims to get word choice full-time students out of college faster, thus resulting in less debt. 

Carson stated that while it is important to lower student debt, it’s not worth driving up the national debt. According to the Huffington Post, “Given [Carson’s] past statements, it is fair to assume that Carson does not favor legislation as a device to make college more affordable, instead he favors more ‘elbow grease’ and other private sector solutions.”

Republican candidate Marco Rubio also argued against Clinton’s plan, saying that it was throwing money into an outdated model, but he has proposed a plan where college students would partner with investors who agree to pay for their schooling and then take a portion of their earnings after graduation. 

As for front-running republican candidate Donald Trump, when he was asked about student debt, he did not offer a plan for the situation. According to TIME magazine, Trump said he would “fix” the problem, but he did claim “the U.S. government is turning a profit on student loans.”