The third democratic debate was held last Thursday, and with a flock of 2020 presidential campaigns swarming around the country, many candidates are taking measures in hopes of getting the next generation of voters on their side.
One of the most notable candidates hoping to win the millennial vote is Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders. One of his strategies to gain their support is to “cancel student debt,” something that almost every college student dreams of.
Cancel all student debt. #DemDebate
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 13, 2019
Young voters fell in love with Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign and were very disappointed when he lost the primary to Hillary Clinton, but many of them are worried about how he plans to keep his $2.2 trillion promise.
The problem with completely eliminating student debt is that the cost of college continues to increase year after year. At Montclair State University, students’ annual tuition increased for the 2019-2020 school term. For New Jersey residents, it spiked from $12,790 to $13,073. For out-of-state students, it increased from $20,568 to $21,033.
As the cost of higher education continues to increase, so does the amount of student debt. According to lendedu.com, the total national student loan debt sits at $1.52 trillion. New Jersey is ranked number 45 as one of the states whose students have the most debt, averaging about $33,500 per borrower.
With numbers surpassing the trillion mark, the dream of canceling student debt appears to be moving further away. Candidates know that the key to winning the millennial vote is to free them of the burden that continues to hold them back financially, and each candidate has their own proposal of fixing it.
To combat the national debt, Sanders plans to add a .5% tax on all Wall Street stock trades and .1% tax increase on bonds. Senator Elizabeth Warren has a similar idea to get rid of student debt by taxing the rich.
I’ve proposed a two-cent wealth tax that would mean #UniversalChildCare for every baby and child aged 1-4, would cancel student loan debt for 95% of people who have it, invest $50 billion in HBCUs, and strengthen our unions. #UltraMillionaireTax #DemDebate
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) September 13, 2019
In the students’ best interest, regardless of which side of the aisle they fall on, they shouldn’t have to be someone else’s financial burden. People have made this argument many times but in the eyes of college students, this might be one of the only ways to possibly achieve this promise.
Other candidates have also proposed different ways to combat this problem. Senator Kamala Harris plans to allow students in debt to refinance their loans at a lower interest rate while former Vice President Joe Biden wants to fix the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which will benefit teachers with loans who are busy educating the next generation.
The promises made at the debate in regards to student debt are not fulfilling for the majority of those who need it. Not every college student wants to be a teacher when they graduate and for others, their education doesn’t end with a bachelor’s degree.
"Because this is an incredible burden on millions and millions of young people who did nothing wrong except try to get the education they need, we are going to cancel all student debt in this country." https://t.co/oIONvud86j
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) September 13, 2019
While the 2020 presidential election is still over a year away, college students need to think about the logistics of the promises these candidates are making. By the time many of us graduate college, there is a very slim chance that our debts will be “canceled.”
Each of us has been given a duty and responsibility to uphold every four years and to elect the person who has our best interests in mind. If something sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.
We have seen many promises, even throughout the Trump Administration, that are still in limbo. Politicians act like salespeople and tell you the things you want to hear to get your vote. It is up to us to question the legitimacy of these promises before the final tickets are revealed.
All of us at The Montclarion cannot tell you who to vote for in 2020, but we urge our fellow students to continue to do their research before hitting the polls that November.
We all dream about having our student debt disappear, and each of these candidates seem to have our interests in mind, but the challenge is finding the right one who can successfully execute it.