With the recent GOP convention underway in Ohio, the Republican Party is establishing its presidential platform for the upcoming campaign for the executive office. It is an event that most supporters, and the opposition, tune in for a preview on just how the Republicans, and Donald Trump, are going to tackle all of the problems of the country. One of these problems plaguing the country happens to be student loan debt. While this is clearly an issue, the GOP convention was surprisingly silent on the topic, yet they still have time to make an announcement.
This is in direct contrast to the Democratic platform. In recent years, President Obama has tried to push policy on certain regulations and programs related to the student loan topic. Some proposed changes involved loosening of Pell Grant restrictions and regulations, but the major policy change by Obama attempts to loosen the federal loan forgiveness program, a significant change. With this in mind, it is no mystery that the Democrats have been more involved than the GOP in the student loan issue.
This involvement was continued even further during the Democratic Primary. While Bernie Sanders called for sweeping policy changes for free college tuition, Hillary Clinton made several proposals and changes to her policies throughout her campaign. The most notable announcement was a directive for catering to business entrepreneurs by offering a modified loan grace period and forgiveness plan, coupled with a federal loan consolidation directive aimed to replicate currently available private student loan consolidation programs. The bottom line is the Democratic party has been much more active on the issue while the GOP has failed to formulate a significant stance.
Despite the lack of announcement, there has been no lack of discussion and debate by the Republicans; additionally, there has been no lack of press coverage on each and every statement made by Donald Trump. The general consensus on Trump’s student loan ideas include the elimination of the Department of Education and the privatization of student loans (meaning all student loans would be from private student loan lenders instead of mostly from the government). His main focus is creating a system with market driven student loan interest rates; additionally, it is believed that he wants there to be a forward looking underwriting process. This means loans are given out after analysis of future earnings. With this in mind, Trump wants loans to be awarded with more consideration of future degree which is bad news for liberal arts majors (but great news for a STEM major). At any rate, these policies have been speculated on the what has been heard from Trump and some people close to Trump. It technically does not define the party platform.
With that being said, the lack of a stance by the collective GOP may prove detrimental to their campaign hopes. As mentioned earlier, student loans are becoming a prominent issue. The debt toll is over $1.3 trillion. It is especially relevant to the millennial generation who takes the brunt of this debt in a sluggish labor market. There are more issues with the country, but student loans still cannot be ignored. It is sure to help the Republican party during the campaign to have a platform stance on possibly one of the most important issues for the younger voters. At any rate, the questions on this subject are sure to spring up during more than one debate over the next couple months.