While it’s no surprise that Democrats and Republicans usually don’t see eye to eye, a new study shows that Republicans and Democrats have very different agendas when it comes to student loan debt and policy making.
LendEDU released its Congress & Student Debt Report this week. This study gauged lawmakers’ support of everything from lowering interest rates and refinancing to loan forgiveness and tax benefits, just to name a few. Additionally, it published student loan debt and default data for each congressional district and each state in the United States.
The research found that Democrats were more likely to support student loan and college affordability initiatives than their GOP colleagues. In Nevada, for example, Representative Dina Titus, a Democrat, and Representative Mark Amodei, a Republican, both support low student loan interest rates. However, Titus has also given her support to other debt relief programs such as Pell Grants, federal refinancing options, and loan forgiveness.
While student borrowers in Republican-held states had about 30% less debt than states with two democratic senators, GOP states had higher student loan default rates (higher by roughly 50%) compared to their Democratic counterparts.
A similar story can be seen with parties and congressional districts. Borrowers from Republican-held congressional districts had 11.5% less student debt on average compared to Democratic districts. Additionally, these Republican districts had a default rate that was 26.2% higher than Democratic districts.
The results of the LendEDU study generate an interesting discussion. While borrowers represented by Republicans have lower levels of debt, they are much more likely to default on their loans. There are plenty of reasons for this, but the study suggests that Republicans support fewer initiatives for college affordability than Democrats. It is easy to speculate that this leads to a greater rate of default.
When addressing student loan debt, House Representative Dina Titus (Democrat) proclaimed, “We must do more to address the affordability of college for the long-term.” Similarly, fellow Nevada Representative Mark Amodei said, “Students and families, who are trying to plan for college, deserve better.”
Many politicians recognize the issue of student loans, but Rep. Titus supports more initiatives that would supposedly relieve debt for her borrowers. A similar situation occurs throughout the nation. While some senators and representatives support more initiatives over others, the cost of tuitions and student debt continue to rise every year.
Student loan debt has taken center stage with lawmakers as more than 44 million Americans struggle with $1.4 trillion in debt. The average student loan borrower has $28,000 in debt at graduation. LendEDU’s research shows that Connecticut District 4 has the highest student loan debt average in the nation, at $42,912, while Alabama District 2 has the lowest at $11,313.
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