Student loan debt is a hot button issue that’s playing a prominent role in the 2016 presidential campaign. Current presidential candidates nearly all have a position on student loan debt and student loan reform.
But where do they stand? How will your vote make an impact? Learn more about how 2016 presidential candidates plan to address growing student loan debt in the United States.
Hillary Clinton (D) – New College Compact
Hillary Clinton is passionate about making education more affordable. Her student loan reform campaign, a $350 billion plan to make college cheaper called the New College Compact, clearly targets millennials and social media users.
How does your student loan debt make you feel? Tell us in 3 emojis or less.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 12, 2015
Clinton also posted an article on Medium, a popular publishing platform, outlining her student loan plan in detail. She writes, “College is supposed to help people achieve their dreams. But more and more, paying for college is actually pushing people’s dreams further out of reach.”
The primary tenets of Hillary Clinton’s student loan plan state:
- No student should have to borrow money for tuition to pay for public college.
- Schools will be more accountable to their students and control their costs.
- The federal government will not profit off of student loans and will increase its investment in higher education.
- States will also invest in higher education.
- Student loan borrowers will be able to refinance their debt at lower rates.
- Wants to make community college free.
Clinton plans to reach these goals through a variety of measures, working with local and federal governments to support students. Funds will come from capping deductions for top wage earners in the country.
Marco Rubio (R) – The Dynamic Repayment Act
Republican candidate Marco Rubio is no stranger to student loan debt. He borrowed — and paid off — $150,000 in student loans.
Rubio recently introduced a bipartisan bill to help with the current student loan debt crisis. He proposes federal loan borrowers be automatically enrolled in a repayment plan based on income. Borrowers would pay 10 percent of their earnings toward student loans each month, with payments taken directly from their paychecks. Payments would be capped at $10,000 annually. Those who opt out to prepay their loans could do so at no penalty.
Additionally, up to $57,500 in student loans would be eligible for forgiveness after 20 years. Loan balances exceeding that number would be forgiven after 30 years.
Bernie Sanders (D) – College for All Act
Bernie Sanders hopes to eliminate tuition for four-year public colleges and universities completely. Currently, tuition at these schools amounts to $70 billion per year. Under Bernie Sanders’ student loan reform plan, the College for All Act, the federal government would cover 67 percent of this cost. States would be responsible for the remaining 33 percent.
A few more key points from the College for All Act in include:
- Student loan interest rates would be reduced to 2.32 percent.
- Borrowers would be able to refinance their loans based on current interest rates for students.
- Expand the work-study program for students.
- Impose a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street.
Sanders is looking to take money from Wall Street and put it back into education to help fund his tuition-free college plan.
Martin O’Malley (D) – Making College Debt Free For All Americans
Martin O’Malley has plenty of experience with student loan debt as well. A few months ago, he shared the shocking admission that he and his wife borrowed a whopping $339,200 to pay for their children’s college tuition.
O’Malley’s student loan reform plan — Making College Debt Free For All Americans — will accomplish the following:
- Within five years, students will be able to attend public universities debt-free.
- Students will be able to refinance their student loans and base payments on income.
- Low- and middle-income borrowers enrolled in Income-Based Repayment would cap their payments at 10 percent of take-home pay.
- Put a freeze on tuition rates.
- Expand Pell Grants and the work-study program.
- Make childcare affordable on campus for students that need it.
What Other Presidential Candidates Say About Student Loan Debt
Donald Trump (R): It seems Donald Trump has no firm policy regarding student loan reform, though he has been outspoken about the burden of student loans. Trump has openly criticized the federal government for profiting off student loans, stating, “I think it’s terrible that one of the only profit centers we [the government] have is student loans.”
Ben Carson (R): Ben Carson’s views on student loan debt are a bit vague as well. His official website doesn’t provide any specific statements on student loans, though comments he’s made in the past shed some light on his beliefs.
In a February interview on Fox News, Carson insinuated that he’s against the free community college proposals. Instead, he spoke about the availability of Pell Grants for the poor to attend college, adding, “For those who are not poor, there is a four letter word that works extremely well, it’s called w-o-r-k, work.”
In another recent interview, Carson explained he believes high student loan interest rates are a problem. He proposed shifting the burden of paying interest charges to schools.
Jeb Bush (R): Jeb Bush wants to ease the student loan debt crisis by helping students access alternative methods of education that don’t require taking out massive student loans. He defends for-profit institutions as viable options, as well as promotes using technology to offer online degrees and classes.
Ted Cruz (R): Ted Cruz is an interesting case. He’s empathized with today’s student loan borrowers, sharing that he only recently paid off his $100,000 student loan bill, yet he voted last year to block a bill that would help student loan borrowers refinance their loans at a lower rate.
It’s unclear how Cruz would deal with the student loan crisis if he were in office, but history may offer a clue. In 2012, when Cruz was campaigning for a seat in the Senate, he proposed getting rid of the Department of Education altogether and having states deal with the funds instead.
Rand Paul (R): Rand Paul isn’t in favor of free education, but has made the controversial proposal that students be able to deduct the cost of their education over their working careers. Additionally, Paul proposed policy in 2012 that called for the elimination of the Department of Education and preserving Pell Grants at 2008 levels.
As the presidential race continues, more candidates will likely make statements regarding student loan debt and their plans for student loan reform. As a student loan borrower, you should keep tabs on what candidates are proposing so you can understand how future legislation will affect you and your debt.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 8 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 2.94% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.98% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.98% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of February 4, 2020, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 2/24/2020. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
3 Important Disclosures for Figure.
Figure’s Student Refinance Loan is a private loan. If you refinance federal loans, you forfeit certain flexible repayment options associated with those loans. If you expect to incur financial hardship that would impact your ability to repay, you should consider federal consolidation alternatives.
4 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Mortgage lending is not offered in Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association.
ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE (“APR”)
There are no origination fees or prepayment penalties associated with the loan. Lender may assess a late fee if any part of a payment is not received within 15 days of the payment due date. Any late fee assessed shall not exceed 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less. A borrower may be charged $20 for any payment (including a check or an electronic payment) that is returned unpaid due to non-sufficient funds (NSF) or a closed account.
For bachelor’s degrees and higher, up to 100% of outstanding private and federal student loans (minimum $5,000) are eligible for refinancing. If you are refinancing greater than $300,000 in student loan debt, Lender may refinance the loans into 2 or more new loans.
ELIGIBILITY & ELIGIBLE LOANS
Borrower, and Co-signer if applicable, must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident with a valid I-551 card (which must show a minimum of 10 years between “Resident Since” date and “Card Expires” date or has no expiration date); state that they are of at least borrowing age in the state of residence at the time of application; and meet Lender underwriting criteria (including, for example, employment, debt-to-income, disposable income, and credit history requirements).
Graduates may refinance any unsubsidized or subsidized Federal or private student loan that was used exclusively for qualified higher education expenses (as defined in 26 USC Section 221) at an accredited U.S. undergraduate or graduate school. Any federal loans refinanced with Lender are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment.
All loans must be in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. Borrower must have graduated or be enrolled in good standing in the final term preceding graduation from an accredited Title IV U.S. school and must be employed, or have an eligible offer of employment. Parents looking to refinance loans taken out on behalf of a child should refer to https://www.laurelroad.com/refinance-student-loans/refinance-parent-plus-loans/ for applicable terms and conditions.
For Associates Degrees: Only associates degrees earned in one of the following are eligible for refinancing: Cardiovascular Technologist (CVT); Dental Hygiene; Diagnostic Medical Sonography; EMT/Paramedics; Nuclear Technician; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapy Assistant; Radiation Therapy; Radiologic/MRI Technologist; Respiratory Therapy; or Surgical Technologist. To refinance an Associates degree, a borrower must also either be currently enrolled and in the final term of an associate degree program at a Title IV eligible school with an offer of employment in the same field in which they will receive an eligible associate degree OR have graduated from a school that is Title IV eligible with an eligible associate and have been employed, for a minimum of 12 months, in the same field of study of the associate degree earned.
The interest rate you are offered will depend on your credit profile, income, and total debt payments as well as your choice of fixed or variable and choice of term. For applicants who are currently medical or dental residents, your rate offer may also vary depending on whether you have secured employment for after residency.
The repayment of any refinanced student loan will commence (1) immediately after disbursement by us, or (2) after any grace or in-school deferment period, existing prior to refinancing and/or consolidation with us, has expired.
POSTPONING OR REDUCING PAYMENTS
After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow a borrower to make $100/month payments for a period of time immediately after loan disbursement if the borrower is employed full-time as an intern, resident, or similar postgraduate trainee at the time of loan disbursement. These payments may not be enough to cover all of the interest that accrues on the loan. Unpaid accrued interest will be added to your loan and monthly payments of principal and interest will begin when the post-graduate training program ends.
We may agree under certain circumstances to allow postponement (deferral) of monthly payments of principal and interest for a period of time immediately following loan disbursement (not to exceed 6 months after the borrower’s graduation with an eligible degree), if the borrower is an eligible student in the borrower’s final term at the time of loan disbursement or graduated less than 6 months before loan disbursement, and has accepted an offer of (or has already begun) full-time employment.
If Lender agrees (in its sole discretion) to postpone or reduce any monthly payment(s) for a period of time, interest on the loan will continue to accrue for each day principal is owed. Although the borrower might not be required to make payments during such a period, the borrower may continue to make payments during such a period. Making payments, or paying some of the interest, will reduce the total amount that will be required to be paid over the life of the loan. Interest not paid during any period when Lender has agreed to postpone or reduce any monthly payment will be added to the principal balance through capitalization (compounding) at the end of such a period, one month before the borrower is required to resume making regular monthly payments.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of February 25, 2020 and is subject to change.
5 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers.
6 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Disclosures
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
1College Ave Refi Education loans are not currently available to residents of Maine.
2All rates shown include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
3$5,000 is the minimum requirement to refinance. The maximum loan amount is $300,000 for those with medical, dental, pharmacy or veterinary doctorate degrees, and $150,000 for all other undergraduate or graduate degrees.
4This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a refi borrower with a Full Principal & Interest Repayment and a 10-year repayment term, has a $40,000 loan and a 5.5% Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $434.11 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $52,092.61. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
Information advertised valid as of 1/1/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 1.68% effective January 10, 2020.
8 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of 5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.
As of 12/019/2019 student loan refinancing rates range from 1.90% to 8.59% Variable APR with AutoPay and 3.49% to 7.75% Fixed APR with AutoPay.
|1.89% – 5.98%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.31% – 6.48%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.93% – 6.68%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.29% – 6.65%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.99% – 7.06%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.62% – 6.12%6||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.77% – 6.25%7||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.90% – 8.59%8||Undergrad & Graduate|