Keith A. Reynolds
The time is quickly approaching for the American people to decide who will be the next president of our great land. In the battle for the title of chief executive, presidential candidates are inclined to present a platform that holds a plank for the separate demographics of voters.
In the interest of better informing the student body, The Collegian has gathered each candidate’s position on higher education into a handy guide. All data was collected from the candidate’s campaign websites except where otherwise noted.
Jeb Bush: The former governor of Florida’s presidential plans are built on the foundation of Education Savings Accounts. These accounts would give each high school graduate a $50,000 line of credit, which they would repay by paying a 1 percent for every $10,000 spent through their federal income taxes for 25 years.
Along with the line of credit, low income students would also have access to Pell Grants. These students would be alerted to their eligibility as early as 8th grade, so that the student is assured the funding needed for a college education. Bush also plans to incentivize institutions to reduce costs, boost quality, and ensure that students graduate by forcing them to share the risk of failure with students.
For students already in debt, Bush plans to allow borrowers to transfer into a new income based repayment system, allow private student debt to be recharged in bankruptcy, extending the debt repayment period, and easing transition into the existing REPAYE program.
Bush claims that his plan is budget neutral. Saying that his plan will “consolidate current programs, eliminate waste, and return powers to the states, local district, and families.” He also claims it will “reduce the size of the federal Department of Education by approximately 50 percent.”
Dr. Ben Carson: Pediatric brain surgeon, Dr. Ben Carson’s policy is based on a belief that education should be controlled by the individual states and that federal one-size-fits-all solutions are counterproductive.
Carson acknowledges the issue of the nation’s ballooning student debt, and plans to correct this problem by using “market-oriented solutions to reduce tuition costs and alleviate student loan debt.”
Ted Cruz: The freshman Senator from Texas has not released a platform on higher education on his website. Repeated calls and emails to his campaign were not returned in time for this report.
John Kasich: The governor of Ohio proposes that the programs that he implemented in his home state would benefit students nationwide.
These include allowing high school students to earn college credit, temporarily freezing tuition prices and fees, and incentivizing colleges to graduate more students.
Marco Rubio: The freshman senator from Florida has a fairly extensive plan to revamp the country’s higher education system. He intends to do this by retooling established programs and introducing alternatives.
As president, Rubio would attempt to bundle higher education tax incentives into a single tax provision, and simplify the federal financial aid application. He also plans to make the existing data more easily accessible to prospective students and families.
Rubio would also “establish income-based repayment (IBR) as the universal repayment methods of federal loans,” as well as allowing graduates to consolidate their existing loans into the IBR system.
Rubio would also like to establish a new accrediting entity with the purpose of ensuring the quality of courses, reviewing financial aid eligibility and making credits transferable into the traditional system.
Student loans are also on the table for discussion, as Rubio wants to allow students to apply for “Student Investment Plans” to help Americans finance their postsecondary education without the burden of student loans.
Allowing Americans the ease of obtaining education is important to Rubio said he has a mission of allowing an easier access to state colleges and online educational opportunities, as well as increasing the hiring of even non-degree holding workers.
Donald Trump: The billionaire real estate developer and reality star has not released a position on higher education on his website. Repeated calls and emails to his campaign were not returned in time for this report.
Hillary Clinton: Former first lady and senator from New York, Hillary Clinton desires to enact something called the New College Compact that ensures that students “can attend a 4-year public college without taking loans for tuition [and] attend community college tuition-free” as well as it “pushes states to re-invest and schools to reduce costs and raise graduation rates, and rewards innovation that makes a real difference in student outcomes.” Specifically, Clinton plans to have students and families only make a realistic family contribution to their education out of a desire for families to be able to afford college without borrowing for tuition.
Clinton’s plan also includes tuition-free community college as well as reduced interest rates on student loans.
Aiding veterans and those who serve our country is also an important aspect of Clinton’s plans for education. She desires to strengthen and protect the GI Bill’s educational benefits, close the 90-10 loophole, and expand AmeriCorps.
Clinton’s mission is to promote college completion as well as adding support for the workforce and lifelong learning.
Clinton’s plans cost in the range of $350 billion and will be paid for by “closing tax loopholes and expenditures for the most fortunate.”
Bernie Sanders: Junior senator from Vermont and self-described Democratic Socialist, Bernie Sanders has a six step plan that he believes will allow him, as president, to make college debt-free. The first step he outlines is making tuition at public colleges and universities free throughout the country. He would do this using the model that Germany, Chile, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and many other countries around the world have used to similar effect.
Sanders also plans to stop the federal government from making any profit on student loans, as well as reducing interest rates from 4.29% to only 2.37%.
The Sanders plan will necessitate that public colleges and universities completely meet the financial needs of even the lowest-income students and allow these students to “be able to use federal, state and college financial aid to cover room and board, books and living expenses.”
According to Sanders, these endeavors will be paid for by “imposing a tax of a fraction of a percent on Wall Street speculators who nearly destroyed the economy seven years ago.”