What proposals on Student Loans do the candidates participating in Super Tuesday 2024 have?

As well as immigration, the issue of education is of great concern to voters at the time of voting, due to the division of opinions between Democrats and Republicans. While Joe Biden’s administration has taken measures to provide relief to student borrowers, the Supreme Court later overturned his forgiveness plan.

Seizing on this juncture, Republican hopefuls, led by Donald Trump, accuse him of having erred in trying to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for a wide swath of U.S. borrowers, even though the majority of the population agreed with the forgiveness plan.

However, the Republican position is that there needs to be a different approach to student loans and the cost of higher education. The issue is not a minor one, as it involves in debt, an estimated total of $1.7 trillion in student debt held by more than 40 million Americans.

Joe Biden

The president, as a virtual presidential candidate for the Democrats, has taken other relief measures: first Republican representatives launched a more generous repayment plan earlier this year that drew the ire of Republicans. His administration also wrote off $127 billion in student debt for 3.6 million borrowers and they are currently trying another massive student debt forgiveness.

In total, the Biden administration has been able to eliminate nearly $132 billion in student debt for more than 3 million people using existing authority. The problem is that the outstanding student debt exceeds $1.6 trillion and places a very heavy tax burden on citizens who are paying off other debts such as mortgage, credit cards or auto loans.

The average loan balance upon graduation has tripled since the 1990s from $10,000 to $30,000. While about 7% of student loan borrowers now have more than $100,000 in debt.

Donald Trump

Former President Trump proposes to address college costs with an entirely new institution. The Republican said that if he wins, he will start a “revolution in higher education” with a free online university called American Academy, which will be available to any American for free and at a world-class level.

This project would be funded by taxes, fines and lawsuits levied on “excessively large private university endowments.”

In addition, a provision was passed during his administration that taxed endowments at private universities with assets of at least $500,000 per student. Finally, his proposal for the American Academy also aims to address culture war criticisms of college campuses coming from the right and other Republican leaders.

“We spend more money on higher education than any other country, and yet they are turning our students into communists and sympathizers of many, many different dimensions. We cannot allow this to happen. It’s time to offer something dramatically different,” Trump said in a statement.

Nikki Haley

For her part, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley proposes measures to not accrue interest while borrowers are still taking classes:

“Don’t put interest on a loan until the person finishes their studies, because if they borrow it in their first year, they’re already accruing more interest and the amount gets bigger and bigger,” she explained.

But the issue did not figure prominently in a speech he gave in September. In that same speech he criticized Biden’s effort to forgive loans, but otherwise did not say much about the issue.

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