Which presidential candidate is better for college students? I want to lay out some facts before I leave you with any opinion-based spin on the issue.
Democratic Nominee for president, Joe Biden, claims that when it comes to education, “we’re starting too late, and finishing too soon.”
In accordance with this belief Biden has announced a sweeping plan to transform the way we view education in this country. First, he will support initiatives to fund education at the federal level through Pre-k at 3 years old, to at least 2 years of vocational school. This is all in an effort to create a reliable pathway to the middle class.
Next, a Biden presidency aims to make college and university free for any family making under $125,000. This is part of Senator Sander’s 2017 College for All Act, and is estimated to aid eight out of every 10 families. Hoping to continue this trend of aiding more low-income families in need, Biden plans to double the maximum value of Pell grants, and increase the amount of citizens that can participate in the program.
This expansion will significantly cover the formerly incarcerated, immigrants and DREAMers.
For anyone paying back student loans, Biden plans to simplify the pay program to just 5% of the payer’s income. This would significantly reduce the amount owed for many people. Additionally, anyone making under $25,000 will not be required to pay at all. If an individual still cannot pay off their loans, they are 100% forgiven after 20 years.
This is not mentioning his plan to revive and expand the federal loan forgiveness programs for public servants. These include educators, utility workers, protectors and many more. For every year of service to the nation, they will have $10,000 of loans forgiven.
Biden also pledges to support unique universities with vital funding. This includes, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions and Native American Nontribal Institutions.
President Donald Trump does not have any plans for higher education listed on his campaign site, nor has he spoken clearly about this topic in the past.
During his first term, Trump has put a pause on Federal Student Loan interest during the coronavirus pandemic, provided additional funding to make sure colleges and universities reopen in 2020 and signed an executive order to increase funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
However, he has made no other tangible progress in higher education.
He has proposed in his 2021 budget to simplify loan repayments to a single provider asking for 12.5% of discretionary income, versus Biden’s proposed 5%. Additionally, he plans to slash loan forgiveness programs, and any other subsidized loans.
Notably, he wanted to ban international students from attending universities during the pandemic, but this decision was later reversed.
Critics of Biden’s plan will claim it is much too expensive, cause a massive increase in taxes and strengthen the power of a central government, taking away from individual liberty. There is also no guarantee these proposals will make it past the House and Senate, especially if there is still a Republican controlled Senate led by Mitch McConnell.
Critics of Trump will call out his lack of vision for the future, and ignorance of an issue that many Americans face.
Can college be deemed a reliable pathway to the middle class? How do you plan to tackle ballooning college costs? Are student loans inhibiting the ability for graduates to participate in society?
These are all questions that Trump does not have an answer to, and if he did, would only claim it is not the government’s role to interfere and grow larger by levying harsher taxes.
Programs such as Biden proposed would aid society in becoming more educated as a whole.
There is such a thing as helping too much, but this is too vital an issue to go ignored by the federal government. There are so many people that have been disadvantaged and left behind, with no feasible way for them to make their way back into the education system to participate in society and pursue their legitimate interests.
Biden is the right choice for college students.