Student Loan Forgiveness

Elizabeth Fequiere, Staff Writer

Throughout his campaign President Donald Trump vaguely mentioned plans on reforming the student loan forgiveness program. Since he took office, there has yet to be any headway in this area but one can surmise that whatever plan Obama had in place will most likely be dismantled.

Right now, there are a few options for loan repayment and the shortest amount of time in which to have federal student loans forgiven is ten years with payments at a cap of ten percent of income each month, under the public service plan, which you can qualify for if you work full-time for a non-profit or the government and make 120 on-time payments.

Under the Obama Administration, Revised Pay As You Earn or REPAYE was created. This income-driven plan requires payments of no more than ten percent of your income every month for 20 to 25 years and, at that time, whatever remains of your federal loans will be forgiven.

The Trump administration has alluded to a plan that will allow loan forgiveness within 15 years for a cap payment of 12.5 percent of your income each month.

In comparison to Obama’s plan, borrowers will pay more under Trump. In either case, it all comes down to income. The more you make, the more you pay and most borrowers would likely have their federal student loans already paid off by the time the 15 years is up.

The “Obama Student Loan Forgiveness” program was enacted as a way to streamline the loan forgiveness process without detrimentally affecting a borrower’s household, which is why the cap on payments remained ten percent of monthly income.

Although Trump’s plan may seem alluring because of the short amount of time in which you could have your loans forgiven, at a cap of 12.5 percent a borrower might have trouble making payments when that money may be needed elsewhere.

So which one is better? As a law student, I’ve garnered quite a large amount of student loans over the years, so obviously I would rather pay as little as possible in the hopes of eventually having the rest forgiven.

No plan is worth it without having some portion of the borrower’s loan forgiven, so to think I’d actually end up paying more just to have all my loans paid off for by the time any forgiveness came in to play seems dismal.

As of now, there’s no way of telling where the Trump Administration is going in this concern, but his defining moments in the presidency thus far have been highlighted by follow through on his campaign promises.

Previously, Trump mentioned the possibility of privatizing student loans and allowing the free market to take over in this regard.

Getting rid of federal student loans altogether is one idea I can’t get behind. This would mean less opportunity for students to be able to have a higher education. Getting the loans in the first place would be extremely difficult, especially when talking about students who probably have no credit history and no real income to show proof of future payments on the loans.

Although I am for most conservative stances and I firmly believe in the idea of a limited federal government, the Democrats might have it right on this one. When we’re trying to improve the future of our nation, finding a way to provide an education for the youth of America is incredibly important.

Having acquired federal loans to pay for school myself, I can say that I may not have been able to make it this far in my education without federal student loans. To think future aspiring attorneys won’t have that same opportunity is unacceptable.

Elizabeth Fequiere is a staff writer for   The Dakota Student. She can be reached at  [email protected]