The 2020 presidential primary elections are ramping up, and student loan debt has become one of the most important issues on the campaign trail. But the candidates for the Democratic nomination have dramatically different views on how to solve the student loan crisis. Some are calling for widespread student loan cancellation, while others want to streamline and fix some of the current, broken student loan programs. Others want to create new, targeted paths to student loan forgiveness and cancellation.
Here’s where some of the major candidates stand.
- Former Vice President Joe Biden has proposed streamlining and fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, offering similar proposals to that of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (who is also running for President). He also supports the notion of free college in certain limited circumstances.
- Senator Bernie Sanders has called for the complete cancellation of all outstanding student loans, including private loans and Parent PLUS loans. He would pay for his trillion dollar program by taxing investment and stock trades, including retirement accounts like 401(k) plans.
- Senator Elizabeth Warren is also proposing widespread student loan forgiveness, but her plan would call for means-testing, and the benefit would be phased out for higher income earners. She proposes paying for her plan via a wealth tax on the super-rich.
- Senator Amy Klobuchar and Mayor Pete Buttigieg have offered more moderate proposals including shoring up existing student loan forgiveness programs and targeting free college benefits towards lower-income families.
- Senator Kamala Harris wants to create a new student loan forgiveness program to provide an incentive to borrowers to start new businesses in economically disadvantaged areas.
How do all these plans stack up? I recently provided some of my thoughts and insights in a detailed interview with The Real News Network – check it out.