College students across the country lucked out when the GOP decided not to defund federal student loans in their recent tax plan.
As many are aware, the government shut down a few weeks ago due to the Democratic party pushing for immigration reform and funding for Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA), while the Republicans were getting greedy with Trump’s Wall, trying to defund Planned Parenthood, getting rid of DACA entirely and several other things.
One of the big pieces seldom discussed in the GOP’s original tax plan was a massive cut to the budget for federal student loans. This would have reduced the available funds by nearly 50 percent and also made the student loan forgiveness program more strict.
The student loan forgiveness program currently allows complete forgiveness of student debt after 120 months (or 10 years) of consistent and uninterrupted payments from individuals working as public servants. Public servants classify as those working in the government at the state, local or federal level.
Some states, such as New York, have a student loan forgiveness plan available to most students after 20 years of consistent payments.
In New Hampshire’s case, there are two programs: one for students with loans from law school and another for students in a career of medicine and health services. Both of these services allow coverage of up to $75,000 in debt.
These programs have helped a lot of people, and the federal program that caters specifically to public service is one of the only things pushing younger generations towards local government, which is a good thing considering that many small towns have difficulty finding people who not only want to come to their town, but stay there and work. Having a loan-forgiveness program gives a form of incentive to work in smaller towns.
Had the GOP voted to repeal this act, there is a good chance we’d see a large drop in the number of local government employees over the next decade or so.
However, nobody should get their hopes up too high.
As mentioned previously, the Republicans are expected to bring the subject back up next year, but with more and more push for free college from liberals, I’d be surprised if they were able to get it passed. This would be especially surprising considering the Republicans are expected to lose control of the House this upcoming fall during the midterm elections when all 435 seats of the House of Representatives are up for grabs, and 34 of 100 in the Senate are being contested as well.
The actual effect this will have on student loans will be interesting, as the Trump Administration has already shown their inability to effectively cooperate with their own party.
So having a Democratic-controlled Congress ‒ assuming they win the midterm election majority for this argument ‒ will probably see just as much paralysis on the congressional side as we see now. And on top of that, you can expect Trump to veto more legislation the Democrats try to pass, especially in reference to student loans as his proposed tax plan also cuts a lot of federal funding for student loan forgiveness.
Taylor Beaven can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org