Some college students may be protesting Donald Trump’s election, and some may be cheering, but whether they’re a fan of the 45th president of the United States, there’s a good chance they’re wondering what he plans to do about student loans. As a candidate, Trump’s stance on college affordability and debt was a bit vague, especially compared to Hillary Clinton’s call for tuition-free higher education. But he has offered a few hints about how he might address the $1.3 trillion in student loan debt Americans currently have hanging over their heads.
The biggest clue to how Trump might reform the student loan system came during a speech he gave in Columbus, Ohio, on October 13. At that event, he said something must be done to keep staggering amounts of student loan debt from derailing people’s lives.
“Students should not be asked to pay more on their loans than they can afford and the debt should not be an albatross around their necks for the rest of their lives,” he said. “And that’s what it is.”
Trump’s solution to the “albatross” of college debt? A rejiggered income-based repayment plan, where borrowers would pay slightly more per month but enjoy a shorter time to loan forgiveness.
“Under Trump’s proposed plan, the government would cap payments at 12.5% of the borrower’s income,” Andy Josuweit, CEO of Student Loan Hero, told The Cheat Sheet. “If the borrower keeps up with payments for 15 years, the government would forgive the remaining loan balance.” Currently, people on the income-based repayment plan pay no more 10% of their income every month. Any remaining balance is forgiven after 20 years of on-time payments.