[2016-09-11] • HOP, Bas Belleman
President-elect Trump wants to reduce student loan debts
9 November 2016 – For students, having Donald Trump elected as the next President of the United States might be good news. He wants to reduce tuitions and solve the ‘student loan debt crisis’.
But we didn’t hear much about this during his campaign. Before the elections, almost all of the campaign focused on crude remarks and mud-slinging. Could he actually say that Clinton should go to prison? Did he really joke about grabbing a woman’s crotch?
Yet, Trump also talked about higher education. In a speech he gave in Ohio in October, he said that he wants to reduce tuitions and solve the ‘student loan debt crisis’. A student loan debt shouldn’t be a millstone around the neck for students for the rest of their life. ‘We’re gonna work it out, folks.’
After graduation, student’s shouldn’t have to shell out more than 12.5 percent of their income to repay their student loan. And a student loan debt should be forgiven if not paid off within 15 years. ‘Hey, it’s really hard on young people.’
He also wants to force higher education institutions to reduce their skyrocketing tuition fees. ‘If the federal government is going to subsidise student loans, then colleges must be held accountable to invest in their students.’
If schools do not invest endowment money to reduce costs for students, Trump said the government may reconsider whether they deserve to keep those endowments tax-exempt. ‘They’ll have to do it, and not wait around either.’
In exchange, he would ease compliance with federal regulations to save colleges on these costs. He also emphasised that he would protect the right to free speech on campuses.
It was this last remark in particular that generated huge applause from the crowd. It surprised him. ‘Wow, you appreciate this even more than lower college costs! That’s impressive. What’s going on? That’s cool.’
The President of the United States doesn’t reign supreme, of course, so whether his plans will be realised is up for grabs. According to Hillary Clinton’s campaign team, these were simply empty promises that Trump made while hers were a lot more specific. She wanted to waive tuition for students attending a public educational institution if they were from families with incomes of less than $125,000 a year.
It should also be said that Donald Trump is facing a lawsuit involving his Trump University that offers private, non-accredited degree programmes in real estate, asset management and entrepreneurship. He is alleged to have given students false hopes. Trump, however, says that the judge is biased because of his Mexican heritage. The President-elect is expected to appear as a witness in this case this month.