In the national’s capital, which also happens to be Purefy’s headquarters, student debt is getting a lot of attention. With a staggering $1.3 trillion in outstanding, the attention is well deserved. Candidates from each party have something to say on the cost of higher education and what they intend to do about it. Young voters with student debt or about to take on new student loans, as well as their parents, are listening. Here is an overview of what is being proposed by four of the presidential hopefuls.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has outlined a 10 year plan costing $350 billion to make college more affordable. She plans to ease the burden of student loan debt on current borrowers by lowering the cost of tuition at accredited colleges. The plan would call for the federal government to provide states with grant money and the states make a pledge to offer free tuition for community college and to lower tuition at 4 year public universities. This would give students the chance to graduate without taking on loans, or at least a substantially smaller amount. For current borrowers, candidate Clinton proposed allowing both private and deferral loans to be refinanced at lower interest rates. (Sound familiar?)
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders thinks he has come up with the end-all solution to the student loan debt crisis through a bill he introduced early this year – tuition-free college. Under Sanders’ bill, the federal government would pay two thirds of the $70 billion annual tuition cost, leaving the states to pay the remainder. The enormous cost would be covered by a tax increase on investment firms and hedge funds. However, tuition free college would only be applicable for public colleges and universities. “If our economy is to be strong, we need the best-educated workforce in the world,” Sanders said announcing the bill earlier this year. “That will not happen if every year, hundreds of thousands of bright young people cannot afford to go to college and if millions more leave school deeply in debt.”
Republican candidate Jeb Bush doesn’t have a formal higher education agenda, but based on the campaign trail and press conferences, his focus is on getting students out of school on time and into higher-paying jobs quicker. Bush also advocated for increased accountability and transparency on the part of universities to ensure that students and parents know which institutions graduate their students on time and have the highest job placement rates.
Republican candidate Donald Trump does not have a formal proposal on student loans. On the campaign trail in July, Trump criticized the government for making money off federal student loans, stating that student loans are “probably one of the only things the government shouldn’t make money off”. While it isn’t clear what Mr. Trump plans to do, he has emphasized a point: “we have to help young people”.
It will be sometime until we know which if any of these proposals will be put into motion, but knowing that the issue is getting attention is a step in the right direction. Remember to vote in your state’s primary, and refinance your student loans with Purefy to get out of debt faster!