Trump’s budget would change student loan process, rates

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President Donald Trump released his new budget plan for the 2019 fiscal year and it highlights increases in military spending, infrastructure and the opioid crisis while cutting the budgets of the EPA, the State Department and funding for Medicaid. And while all of that is important, there’s another element of Trump’s budget that will likely catch many student’s eyes: his plan for student loans.

The new budget would eliminate loan forgiveness for those who enter into public service, end subsidized Stafford loans and set up a new, unified income-based repayment plan for student loans. This new system would have students pay 12.5 percent of their discretionary income every month, instead of the average of 10 percent many pay now, but would have loans forgiven after 15 years, instead of the 20 it is now.

However, changes to loans would apply to those borrowing after July 1, 2019, and does not include loans provided to borrowers to finish their current education.

According to a 2012 study done by the U.S. Department of Education, 71 percent of college seniors graduated with student loans. That number had increased seven percent since 2000.

According to the TCU Common Data Set for 2017-2018, 64.4 percent of undergraduate students have need-based aid granted to them.

Several TCU students have already expressed concern about Trump’s new budget plan. Nick McDevitt, a sophomore engineering major, is on a federal subsidized loan plan.

“My parents wanted me to learn the value of a dollar,” McDevitt said. “So I took out a loan. If the budget plan was to come to fruition, it definitely wouldn’t help.”

However, some TCU students aren’t as worried. Junior Sean Connors feels as though it won’t be as much of a problem as people think it is.

“I feel the impact won’t be that big of a deal,” Connors said. “Students will just have to go through other means in order to obtain the loans. I know I looked at refinancing because the federal loans have very high interest rates.”

However, student loans aren’t the only part of education being cut in Trump’s budget. In the Department of Education section, the budget calls for “a $7.1 billion or 10.5-percent decrease from the 2017 enacted level.”

The White House estimated that if Trump’s plan was enacted it would save taxpayers $600 million compared to last year.

All of this is just a wish-list for Trump however and not actual policy. It would have to be passed by Congress before any actual challenges were made. Considering the budget has always drawn criticism from both parties it’s unlikely the budget would be passed in an unaltered form.