Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently made a statement regarding student loans. He placed blame at high tuition costs squarely on Federal loan programs and announced a work-in-progress policy to address the increasing problem of student loans.
As many know, student loans account for a significant portion of debt in the United States. They currently account for $1.4 trillion in total, having more than doubled in total since 2007. Varying interest rates and tuition costs have contributed to this financial debt titan, along with the growth of for-profit schools and collection fraud.
It’s become one of the biggest issues for the upcoming election, and stances taken by either presidential candidate could swing voters wildly one way or the other. Responding to Fox News questions, Trump said he would unveil a new policy to tackle the issue in September.
Trump’s position was that the excessive availability of student loans allowed institutions to raise their costs with little concern. For instance, if students are unhappy with the loan amount they receive from Federal programs, they can take student loans from private lenders. Many for-profit colleges look to this to take as much as possible from students.
Since those seeking higher education have flexible options to receive loans from the government, institutions jump on the opportunity, Trump feels. Even though students are responsible for paying back the total amount, the institution is “paid” for class costs and their associated fees.
University of Phoenix, for example, has been known to introduce freshman costs that leave nothing for the individual. With so many funding options, it’s entirely possible for a freshman to meet the excessive cost of attending the university.
Trump feels that for profit institutions, and perhaps colleges in general, are careless with what they charge students. Certainly, it cannot be denied that tuition rises each year, with graduates having an estimated near $30,000 on average in the United States. However, while federal loans may contribute to higher tuition costs, whether or not the two are linked remains to be seen.
In contrast, Hillary Clinton has several plans and policy suggestions regarding loan costs. These include subsidizing loans, lowering interest rates, and suspending payment obligations for new entrepreneurs. Other extensions on the policy would include subsidizing public school costs, which frees up students inheriting new debts. This would also help middle class families by preventing new debt related to public education.
As student loan debt continues to grow rapidly in the U.S., both parties are scrambling for long term solutions. Whether or not Trump or Hillary’s plan will answer these cost issues remains to be seen.
In final contrast, while Hillary feels the cost of tuition has become the source of the problem, Trump feels it is a lack of well-paying jobs contributing to the deficit. It’s expected more clarifications from both candidates will arrive as the year progresses and we approach general election and debates.