Ever since President Trump took office back in 2016, his mission has been to cut the budget down as low as it can go. With that, we’ve seen a lot of (often beloved) programs face reductions or end up on the chopping block itself. We all remember the worry PBS had over losing federal funding, as well as crucial services like Meals on Wheels.
Now, it appears as if student loan programs are next.
According to President Trump’s proposal, he hopes to drastically reduce loan repayment plans for students who qualify based on their income, increase the government’s pressure on students not paying their loads, and cut the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program altogether.
This is troublesome for the 5.7 million students who hoped to graduate with help from the government to pay off some of the loan debt that threatens to crush them without the programs. As college becomes increasingly expensive, students are looking for more options to help them enter the work force not burdened by tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of debt.
The new plan won’t just cut programs, but will also drastically reduce the number of repayment plans. Before, you could choose between 4 plans that considers your income, but the bill hopes to cut down the options to just one, capping the payments at 12.5 percent.
It’s Not All Bad News
There are aspects of the bill that are appealing, including the idea to expand Pell Grants to cover other training programs that tend to be short-term. These are the types of jobs that will always be in need, so the Trump Administration felt it was important to extend grant access to those students as well.
The plan will also offer loan forgiveness for undergraduate students in 15 years, verses the current plan that waits 20. Those five years can be a lifesaver for anyone still struggling almost two decades later. The higher-end degrees will have to wait 30 years for loan forgiveness to kick in for them.
While the plan wouldn’t kick into gear until July 1st, 2019, as of right now, it’s just a plan and will most likely undergo a transformation as it makes its way to lawmakers. Who knows what the final bill would look like, but it’s certainly worth paying attention to, especially if you were looking forward to receiving the help.