Americans head to the polls today to cast their votes for president and of the registered voters in America, 66 percent say education is a very important issue in this election. The Student Loan Report has previously highlighted how both major party candidates plan to help make student loans more affordable. For those who are still unsure where both candidates stand, here is an overview of what they have said about this issue.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s plan is called the New College Compact, and she has promised to make higher education at in-state public colleges free for families earning $125,000 or less. Clinton plans to use federal incentives to encourage states to invest in their public schools and has proposed capping tax deductions from high-income households to pay for the program. Clinton announced this plan toward the end of the Democratic primary after beating Senator Bernie Sanders for the nomination.
To help borrowers struggling to make repayments on their loans, Clinton proposed a three-month payment suspension for all borrowers so they could work with the Department of Education to find a repayment program that would best fit their needs. Clinton proposed letting federal student loan borrowers consolidate student debt at lower interest rates. Clinton has also promised to streamline the federal student loan repayment system and hold student loan servicers who take advantage of borrowers accountable.
Republican candidate Donald Trump has not released a formal plan for addressing student loan debt or college affordability, but he has discussed these issues on the campaign trail. Last month, in a speech at Columbus, Ohio Trump said he would cap monthly student loan payments at 12.5 percent of the borrowers’ income and that after 15 years of payments any remaining debt would be forgiven. Current income-based repayment plans cap monthly payments at 10 percent of the borrowers’ income and outstanding debt is forgiven after 20 years.
Trump has also blamed the high cost of college tuition on universities and criticized how they spend their endowments. He has stated that if elected, he would minimize regulations that would lead to smaller administrations and lower tuition rates. He has stated he would encourage schools to keep their tuition rates low to avoid having their tax-exempt status removed on large endowments. Trump has also hinted that he would reduce funding for the Department of Education if elected.
Trump’s own for-profit college, Trump University is currently facing lawsuits over claims of fraud and misrepresentation of services. Trump has denied these claims and is schedule to testify in court on November 28.
Both candidates have been plagued by scandals throughout their campaigns; Trump dealt with allegations of sexual misconduct and Clinton continued to deal with the fallout from her email scandal.