Donald Trump emerged victorious in the presidential election on Tuesday. This has many people worried about what will happen to the student loan reforms put in place under the Obama administration. Over the past 8 years, President Obama has cracked down on for-profit colleges and put a number of income-based repayment plans in place. Advocates of these changes are worried about what will happen under a Republican president and Congress.
Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton spoke frequently on the campaign trail about her plan for making higher education more affordable. This was an issue Trump rarely spoke about in his own campaign speeches. One of Trump’s advisers recently stated that the president-elect would dramatically reduce the role of government in higher education and give private banks who originate education loans more leverage in the student loan market.
Neal McCluskey, who is the directory of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, says that few Republicans want to return to private lenders controlling student loans. He believes Trump would get rid of Grad Plus or Parent Plus loans to reduce the federal government’s influence in student loans.
Although Parent Plus loans are known for having high interest rates, getting rid of them entirely could cause problems for some colleges. In 2011 when the government attempted to tighten borrowing standards it lowered enrollment at traditionally black universities because families struggled to find loans.
Others worry that Trump will give student loans to private banks entirely and that their criteria for lending will eliminate minority and lower-income students. A study done by the Center for American Progress indicated that if private banks took over the loan market, monthly payments would rise up to 78 percent due to higher interest rates and less options for flexible repayment plans.
While Trump’s advisers have stated he will reduce federal impact on student loans, a month prior to the election Trump himself stated he would enroll borrowers in a plan that would reduce their monthly loan payments to 12.5 percent of their income and forgive all remaining debt after 15 years.
This would be more generous than income-based repayment plans introduced underneath Obama, which forgive student loan debt after 20 years of repayments. Republicans have labeled income-based repayment programs introduced under Obama as fiscally irresponsible.
Many experts believe that the Trump administration will focus on eliminating many of the regulations put in place on for-profit colleges. Trump himself is in the middle of a lawsuit over claims of fraud tied to the now defunct Trump University. Trump himself has criticized government regulations that interferes with business interests.
The Trump administration could eliminate a number of student loan forgiveness programs, including the borrower defense to payment, which gives students eligibility for loan forgiveness if they attended a school that they believe either defrauded them or violated state law. Thousands of students that attended Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute are hoping to receive loan forgiveness.