What Mike Bloomberg Would Do about Student Loans and College Affordability

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Kristen Kuchar

By Kristen Kuchar

February 21, 2020

Mike Bloomberg is newer to the presidential race than his fellow Democrat contenders, but he has released his proposed plans for dealing with student loan debt and making college more affordable. With the nation’s student loan debt at $1.6 trillion, it’s no surprise all of the presidential candidates are weighing in on college financial aid.

Here is what he plans to do:

What Bloomberg Would Do about the Cost of College

  • Make community colleges tuition-free for all students and debt-free for low-income students (covers the full cost of attendance)
  • Make 4-year public colleges tuition-free and debt-free for low-income students
  • Double the maximum Pell Grant to $12,690
  • Provide extra Pell Grant funding to colleges that enroll and graduate greater numbers of Pell Grant recipients
  • Expand Pell Grants to incarcerated students and DACA students

What Bloomberg Would Do About Student Loans

  • Introduce a new income-driven repayment plan that bases loan payments on 5% of discretionary income, down from 10% and 15% on the current income-driven repayment plans
  • Forgive the remaining debt of borrowers in income-driven repayment after 20 years, with up to $57,000 of the forgiveness tax-free
  • Automatically enroll undergraduate borrowers in income-driven repayment plans, with the option of opting out
  • Provide paycheck withholding of student loan payments
  • Waive collection charges on defaulted student loans of low-income borrowers
  • Fix public service loan forgiveness


How Bloomberg Compares to Other Candidates

Unlike Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Bloomberg does not support widespread student loan forgiveness. He does, however, propose offering student loan forgiveness for those who have attended a failed or “predatory” for-profit college.

The former New York city mayor also wants to make it easier for borrowers to receive student loan forgiveness for public service, similar to Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. This differs from President Trump’s student loan plan, which calls for the end of the public service loan forgiveness program.

Bloomberg has not yet discussed the ability to allow student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy, unlike Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, who do support discharging federal and private student loans in bankruptcy.

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