Biden vs. Trump: How They’ll Handle Student Loan Debt

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With the total amount of student loan debt soaring to more than $1.6 trillion, student loans have become an important issue in the next presidential election. 

Joe Biden and Donald Trump both have plans for student loans that differ greatly. Here’s how they compare.

Income-Driven Repayment Plans

Trump proposes to combine the four income-driven repayment plans into a single repayment plan. 

Biden proposes to have all borrowers automatically enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan with the option to opt out if they’d like. 

He also proposes borrowers making $25,000 or less per year will not owe any payments on their undergraduate federal student loans. These loans also won’t accrue any interest.

On Biden’s plan, anyone making over $25,000 will pay 5% of their discretionary income. Trump proposes that the payment be 12.5% of discretionary income.

Biden’s proposal involves a 20-year repayment term, with forgiveness of the remaining debt. Trump proposes that the remaining balance be forgiven after 15 years for borrowers with just undergraduate loans, 30 years for borrowers with any graduate student debt.

With Biden’s plan, any student loan debt forgiven through the income-based repayment program won’t be taxed. 

Public Service Loan Forgiveness 

Trump has proposed to eliminate the public service loan forgiveness program

Biden proposes to keep public service loan forgiveness with some changes. For starters, federal borrowers working in schools, government and other non-profit settings would be automatically enrolled in the PSLF program.

Biden also proposes to offer $10,000 of undergraduate or graduate student debt relief for each year of national or community service, for up to five years. Right now, forgiveness comes at the back end after 10 years of qualifying payments. 

Student Loan Forgiveness

Biden is proposing to forgive all tuition-related undergraduate federal student loan debt for borrowers who attended public colleges and universities. Forgiveness would be available for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 per year. 

Under Biden’s proposal, only federal undergraduate student loans from public colleges would be eligible for forgiveness. Federal student loans borrowed for private colleges, graduate student loans, parent loans and private student loans would not be included in this forgiveness. Federal student loans from private, non-profit historically black colleges and minority serving institutions are also eligible for this forgiveness.

Trump does not propose any widespread student loan forgiveness. 

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