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In the upcoming presidential election, one key issue that has been highlighted is the handling of America’s student loan debt crisis. The numbers are staggering, with American families estimated to borrow $100 billion in student loans for the 2024-25 academic year, adding to the already massive $1.75 trillion in total student debt. On average, borrowers owe around $28,950 each.

President Joe Biden’s administration has been vocal about its desire to erase student loan debt for as many borrowers as possible. Despite a Supreme Court rejection of an initial plan to forgive $10,000 to $20,000 in student loan debt, the administration has forgiven $153 billion in federal student debt for 4.3 million borrowers through other avenues. The administration has rolled out a new, more toned-down student debt cancellation proposal that still aims to forgive debt for millions of borrowers in specific categories, such as those who owe more than they originally borrowed and borrowers who have been repaying loans for 20-25 years.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., another presidential candidate, offers a different approach to addressing student loan debt. He recommends allowing borrowers to more easily discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy and believes student loan interest should be abolished, with all federal student loans featuring 0% rates. He also advocates for holding schools accountable for student loan defaults, as he believes this will encourage schools to keep costs down. Kennedy has referenced a bill introduced by Rep. Eric Swalwell called the No Student Loan Interest Act as a potential way to provide relief to millions of borrowers.

Former President Donald Trump’s re-election page does not focus heavily on student loans or higher education funding. During his presidency, Trump implemented the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which eliminated the “tax bomb” on student loan forgiveness through 2025. He has praised the Supreme Court for overturning President Biden’s broad loan forgiveness plan and has previously supported income-driven repayment plans. However, he has proposed controversial measures such as consolidating repayment plans and ending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program while his Department of Education delayed processing Borrower Defense to Repayment claims.

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