Note: As more information about candidates’ student loan platform arises, we’ll keep this post updated.
As the 2020 election approaches and the political race heats up, more candidates will be sharing their platforms and views in hopes of being elected as president.
Knowing where candidates stand is an important part of voting. If you’re a student loan borrower, you’re probably curious where the 2020 presidential candidates fall on student loan policy and reform.
Ranked: 2020 presidential candidates student loan platforms
The fact is, there are a lot of candidates running in the 2020 race. According to The New York Times, 23 Democrats and two Republicans ran for president in 2020.
There are some veteran politicians as well as newbies in the race, and many of them have discussed student loans as part of their platforms.
To help you get a high-level view of each candidate’s position regarding student loans, we’ve ranked the candidates from the most-generous student loan platforms and policies to least-generous.
1. Bernie Sanders
Student loan stance: Cancel all student loan debt, refinance at lower rates and cap interest rates on new student loans.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., recently announced his plan to cancel all student loan debt, which would eliminate close to $1.6 trillion dollars of debt. On his site, he mentions how student loan debt is often carried largely by women and people of color. By eliminating student loan debt, Bernie Sanders is hoping to close the racial wealth gap.
You can find info on all of his student loan policies here.
2. Elizabeth Warren
Student loan stance: Cancel up to $50,000 of student loan debt, depending on income.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has one of the most progressive student loan platforms. She is proposing canceling up to $50,000 for student loan borrowers. This plan would wipe out student loan debt for 75% of borrowers, and 95% of borrowers would get some debt canceled.
How much you’d be eligible for would depend on income. Borrowers who make less than $100,000 would get the full $50,000 canceled, while borrowers who earn $100,000 to $250,000 would qualify for some cancellation. The benefit caps out at $250,000, and borrowers who earn more than that would not be eligible for any cancellation.
The plan would help close the wealth gap among people of color and boost the middle class.
3. Joe Biden
Student loan stance: Expand PSLF; also supports free college.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is one of the top contenders in the 2020 race but has been more quiet on the student loan front. Biden has proposed making changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, making it easier for teachers.
Aside from that, he hasn’t commented much on student loan reform. He’s been vocal about his support for free college, encouraging free education for 16 years instead of 12 years.
Learn more about Biden’s education and student loan policies here.
4. Pete Buttigieg
Student loan stance: Confront student loan debt and make college free for low-income families.
As the youngest presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg brings a new, vibrant energy to the race. Buttigieg is mayor of South Bend, Indiana and his husband is a teacher. Together, they have $130,000 in student loan debt. On his website, he says it’s crucial to make college free for lower-income families, and he plans to do that through state-federal partnerships.
Additionally, college would be free for public university students who are middle class. Historically Black Colleges and similar institutions would also receive additional financial support.
When it comes to student loan policy, there are less concrete plans, but according to his site, it includes:
- Confronting student loan debt
- Providing more support for students entering public service
- Ensuring the highest degree of transparency and accountability for higher education institutions
- Applying strict standards to for-profit higher education institutions
As time goes on, hopefully we’ll get more details on what this plan looks like, but it appears this is an issue on his radar.
You can find more information on Buttigieg’s student loan policies on his campaign site.
5. Amy Klobuchar
Student loan stance: Refinancing to a lower rate and free two-year college.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is against debt-free college but is in favor of free tuition for two-year colleges. To help ease the burden for current borrowers, she’s interested in refinancing so borrowers can get a lower rate.
Amy supports allowing borrowers to refinance student loans at lower rates, loan forgiveness for in-demand occupations, expanded Pell grants, and tuition-free one- and two-year community college degrees and technical certifications.”
Here’s more information about Klobuchar’s student loan policies.
6. Mike Bloomberg
Mike Bloomberg came out with his student loan plan on February 18, 2020. He proposed tripling HBCU funding, eliminating legacy admissions, allowing undergrads to pay 5% of their income, preserving PSLF, and allowing low and middle income families to borrow less for 2 and 4 year degrees.
He proposes doing this by doubling funding for Pell Grants. You can read more about Bloomberg’s proposals on our analysis post.
7. Donald Trump
Student loan stance: Eliminate PSLF and expand income-driven repayment; cap payments at 12.5%.
Trump plans on running again in 2020, and his 2020 budget plan outlines some changes for income-driven repayment (IDR) plans. Under his proposed changes, there would be a single IDR plan that would cap borrowers’ payments at 12.5%.
According to the plan, undergraduate borrowers with a balance after 180 months would have their debt forgiven, while graduate students would have any remaining balance forgiven after 30 years. The budget calls for eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to pay for this. These changes would be effective for student loan borrowers after July 1, 2020.
Here’s more information about Trump’s 2020 budget plans.
What do you think of the candidates’ student loan plans? Comment below and let us know.