Donald Trump has made two big promises that college students might like. But critics have questions.
By and large, college students are not Donald Trump’s biggest fans.
On Election Day, adult voters 18 to 29 preferred Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton over Trump by 55 percent to 37 percent, according to the Pew Research Center. And since the election, many of those anti-Trump students have flooded into the streets to protest the new president-elect.
However, Trump is making two big promises that college students might like:
Trump wants to cap student loan payments. Trump in October announced that he would work to cap student loan payments at 12.5 percent of a student’s income. In addition, students who make full payments for 15 years might see their remaining debt forgiven.
The Washington Post called the proposal “the most liberal student loan repayment plan since the inception of the federal financial aid program.” However, Trump did not explain how much the plan would cost, nor how he would pay for it.
Trump wants tuition to go down. In September, Trump insisted that if elected, he would hold colleges accountable for lowering tuition costs. If schools refused to play ball, Trump said he would threaten cherished federal funding and tax breaks.
CNBC reported that at a campaign rally in Philadelphia, Trump said:
“If universities want access to all of these federal tax breaks and tax dollars paid for by you, they have to make good faith efforts to reduce the cost of college.”
Once again, Trump did not offer any specifics about the plan.
Of course, not everyone is ready to anoint Trump as the “education president.” In addition to faulting Trump for a lack of specifics on his college proposals, other critics have taken aim at less education-friendly pronouncements, such as his suggestion that he might scrap or dramatically downsize the Department of Education.
Emily Deruy writes in The Atlantic that many others are worried about the Trump approach.
Trump is likely to push what he’s called a “market-driven” approach to education. That makes civil-rights groups and many Democrats who see the federal government as something of a safety net for vulnerable low-income students and children of color nervous.
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