As the 2020 presidential election ramps up, NASFAA continues to closely monitor the candidates as higher education policy positions emerge.
This page serves as a compilation of the current Democratic and Republican presidential candidates' stated positions on higher education and student aid issues. While NASFAA regularly takes positions on higher education policies, the association does not support or endorse any candidate for elected office.
Below you will find a list of each candidate with links to resources outlining their stances on various higher education and student aid issues. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order:
Supports the simplification of the financial aid process and expansion of the year-round Pell Grant. (bennet.senate.gov)
Biden has been supportive in the past of free community college, as part of President Obama's America's College Promise proposal. In 2015, Biden supported four years of "free college" (Inside Higher Ed), however he now proposes to make community college free (Education Next). Additionally, he would like to make sure that PSLF is "fixed, simplified, and actually helps teachers." (Joebiden.com)
Castro is in support of making the first two years of college, certification programs, and apprenticeships free. He would offer partial loan forgiveness for people who receive specific public assistance benefits. Proposes to reform the loan repayment process so that borrowers' payments are $0 until they're earning at least 250% above the federal poverty line. Once at that level, they would not pay more than 10% of their adjusted gross income with an amount equivalent to 250% of the federal poverty line exempted. Other issues that Castro has highlighted are the expansion of the Pell Grant program, reforming Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), the termination of support for for-profit colleges, and increased institutional transparency through the expansion of the of College Scorecard (Julian for the Future).
In support of free public two- or four-year college implemented through federal/state partnership. Co-sponsored Sen. Bernie Sanders' College for All Act and endorsed Sen. Brian Schatz's "debt-free" college bill. Proposed that student loan borrowers have the option to refinance loans at 4%. In April, Gillibrand introduced the What You Can Do For Your Country Act, which would expand eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness so every type of federal loan and repayment plan would be included in the program. Borrowers would be able to receive partial forgiveness after five years of public service (Gillibrand.senate.gov). Gillibrand in June outlined a plan that would provide individuals with tax-free fiancial assistance to attend two years of public or community college tuition-free in exchange for one year of public service, and four years of college tuition-free in exchange for two years of pubic service (Fox News).
Has proposed a Fair Education Reform to make all public universities and graduate school "absolutely tuition free," a one-time "Student Debt Jubilee" wiping away all student debt, as well debt forgiveness of up to $25,000 of private student loans (MikeGravel.org).
Klobuchar is largely in support of expanding affordable apprenticeship opportunities. She is a lead sponsor of the American Apprenticeship Act, which would provide financial support for states to create or expand tuition assistance programs for participants completing apprenticeships. She also introduced a bill that would expand the uses of 529 Education Savings Accounts to include training and credentialing programs (klobuchar.senate.gov). Klobuchar is in support of free community college, however, she opposes free four-year college due to concerns over financial feasibility. She is in support of Pell Grant expansion and loan refinancing (CNN Town Hall). She co-sponsored Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's What You Can Do For Your Country Act.
Moulton has proposed a National Service Education Guarantee that would provide prorated tuition assistance to in-state students who complete service programs such as AmeriCorps, FEMA Corps, or AmeriCorps VISTA. In early June, Moulton said that while he believes there should be consideration for a debt forgiveness program, his first priority is the needs of those who have not attended college (CNN Interview Transcript).
His "College for All Act" (summary) would provide $47 billion per year to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities. He proposes an expansion of the Federal Work-Study program and shifts the allocation formula to be based off of the aggregate need of institutions' students. The reform would be financed by a Wall Street speculation fee. Co-sponsored Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's What You Can Do For Your Country Act.
Co-sponsored Sen. Kirsten Gillibran's What You Can Do For Your Country Act.
Williamson is in support of free college or technical school for "every qualified student." If financially unfeasible, she would then turn to payroll tax methods or public service as a repayment option. Williamson would like to reduce Public Service Loan Forgiveness eligibiilty from 10 years to five, reduce student loan interest rates, eliminate origination fees, and eliminate the annual caps on subsidized loans (Marianne 2020).
President Trump has proposed deep cuts to the Department of Education as a whole, and specifically to student financial aid programs. His fiscal year 2018 budget proposal for example, would have cut about $150 billion from federal student aid programs over 10 years. His most recent budget proposal reiterated his support for hard-hitting cuts to the federal student aid programs, and included a $2 billion rescission from the Pell Grant reserve funds. He has also proposed eliminating subsidized loans, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, reducing Federal Work-Study funding, and increasing risk-sharing with institutions. He has supported a more streamlined loan repayment process and shift in the Federal Work-Study allocation formula so institutions would receive funds based on the number of Pell Grant recipients the institution enrolled (The Chronicle of Higher Education).
Weld has emphasized using online education as a method to cut down on room and board costs. He has mentioned that most jobs now require two years of college education and is in support of covering in-state tuition for workers who have been displayed by the rising job credential threshold (Boston News)
Publication Date: 6/10/2019