Your student loan debt and the presidential candidates

The 2016 election is mere months away and the presidential candidates on both sides have been narrowed a bit. For college students, one of the big issues in this campaign cycle has been student loans. Now the latest news has a debt clock tracking the increasing student loan debt rate.

Find out the views of presidential candidates on student loan debt. (Credit: CNNS)

Find out the views of presidential candidates on student loan debt. (Credit: CNNS)

The clock was created by the education data site StartClass for MarketWatch. How will this issue play out when November 2016 rolls around?

The debt clock

According to USAToday the debt clock of student loan debt is increasing at “a rate of $2,726.27 per second.” The information fueling the clock comes from student loan debt from 2006 to 2015.

Feeling a little queasy at the thought of how much you might owe after graduation? I feel your pain; I don’t know many people, myself included, who don’t have student loan debt hanging over their heads. Well maybe this will soften the blow a bit: the creators of the clock say that the rate of increase has actually decreased since the clock first began. The high was $3,055 per second.

The democratic presidential candidates

The two contenders for the democratic presidential nomination both have plans when it comes to ways to reduce student loan debt. But which plan is better? Read on for the details, bullet-point style.

Hillary Clinton

  • Her plan is called the “New College Compact.”
  • She would allow borrowers to refinance their student loan debt at current interest rates.
  • Clinton would reduce interest rates for new loans.
  • Her plan aims to make it easier to enroll in programs that base your repayments on your income, with a cap at 10 percent.
  • Clinton also mentions making more aid available to students.
  • Total cost—$350 billion/over 10 years

Bernie Sanders

  • Sanders has said he wants to stop the federal government from making a profit off of student loan debt.
  • He would lower interest rates on student loans.
  • His plan offers borrowers the opportunity to refinance at the new lower rates.
  • Sanders has proposed making tuition at state colleges free.
  • Total cost—$75 billion/year

The republican presidential candidates

Meanwhile, what is the GOP offering up to college students worried about their student loan debt? I delved in, so you don’t have to. Here’s what I found:

Donald Trump

  • Trump has mentioned student loan debt on many occasions, but has not offered a concrete proposal.
  • He has no voting record to indicate what he might actually do if he won the 2016 election.
  • Total—Unknown

Ted Cruz

  • Cruz has said little about student loan debt, additionally the topic is absent from his website.
  • His Senate voting record includes a yes vote for the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013. This tied federal loans to financial markets and placed a cap on student loan rates.
  • Cruz’s record more recently includes a no vote for Senator Warren’s amendment to the 2015 budget resolution to allow student loan borrowers to refinance at current rates.
  • Total—Unknown

John Kasich

  • As governor of Ohio, Kasich proposed to help borrowers with repayments via a $120 million college-debt-relief fund.
  • His 2015 state budget included a two-year tuition freeze for state colleges.
  • Kasich wants to give high school students the chance to earn more college credits while still in high school, as a means of cost reduction.
  • He also has drawn attention to Ohio’s plan that will pay colleges based on their performance, i.e. how many students they graduate.
  • Total—Unknown

Currently, it appears the democrats have spoken more on the record about concrete plans to help college students with their student loan debt as the 2016 election draws closer. But perhaps once the nominations are locked down the last standing of the presidential candidates on the republican side will have more to offer in terms of a plan to address that rising debt clock number.

Is your potential student loan debt having an effect on your vote in the 2016 election? Let us know in the comments.

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