US elections: How student loans will influence Biden vs Trump presidential clash this fall - Hindustan Times
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US elections: How student loans will influence Biden vs Trump presidential clash this fall

Jun 21, 2024 06:36 AM IST

Nearly one in five American adults with student loan debt say it will significantly influence their decision in the voting booth this fall.

With each passing day, the 2024 US election's inevitability grows more profound. Among several other factors influencing voters to pick either side of the presidential debate, student loan debt has emerged as another seemingly consequential, hard-to-miss aspect.

FILE PHOTO: Combination picture showing former U.S. President Donald Trump attending the Trump Organization civil fraud trial, in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., November 6, 2023 and U.S. President Joe Biden participating in a meeting with Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2024. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid and Elizabeth Frantz//File Photo(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Combination picture showing former U.S. President Donald Trump attending the Trump Organization civil fraud trial, in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., November 6, 2023 and U.S. President Joe Biden participating in a meeting with Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2024. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid and Elizabeth Frantz//File Photo(REUTERS)

A new Bankrate survey indicates that nearly one in five adults (18%) claim student loan debt will play a massive role in unlocking their vote this November's upcoming election. Moreover, more than one in four Americans perceive student loan debt as a “national crisis" (29%), with 27% of Americans blaming the federal government for not providing enough financial assistance to borrowers, according to Bankrate’s Student Loans and the Presidential Election Survey.

The collective image especially spotlights a concerning issue: According to the Federal Reserve, over 40 million borrowers owe $1.77 trillion in loans.

Of the pollees with student loans, 29% agreed that this factor would significantly impact their vote this fall.

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Joe Biden vs Donald Trump: How heavily will student loan debt impact voters' decision?

The Biden administration has launched numerous student loan relief initiatives. During his time in office, the sitting president of the country has forgiven a cumulative sum of $167 billion in loans for nearly 5 million borrowers despite his 2023 forgiveness program being rebuffed by the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, as reported by Forbes, former president Donald Trump lauded the Supreme Court's decision to overrule Biden's loan forgiveness program in 2024.

However, he, too, instituted a pandemic-era forbearance program that lasted more than three years and halted payments and interest.

With rising college fees directly proportional to the national student loan balance, the Federal Reserve states that the latter has skyrocketed by 66% over the past decade. The Education Department's latest data revealed that the average tuition fee for a four-year private nonprofit university spiked 14% from the 2010 fall to 2021 fall, according to reporting from USA Today.

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As for how the student debt issue is affecting people, Bankrate analyst Sarah Foster described it best: “Borrowers in Bankrate polls dating back almost a decade indicate that their debt is casting a dark shadow over their financial lives, impacting their ability to achieve the same financial milestones as generations before them.”

The survey also painstakingly appears to conclude on a heart-rending note, with nearly one in four having student loan debt for themselves or someone else having no expectations about ever being able to pay off their student loan debt, accounting for 24% of Americans.

This sad picture may be a pressing issue, determining the future votes of Americans with student debt. However, contrary to experts' and possibly even candidates' perceptions, it didn't stand tall among the country's youngest voters as a critically influential factor swaying their votes either way. In fact, Gen Zers (ages 18-27) juggling student debt were actually the “least likely to indicate that it will have a major influence over their choice in the voting booth" (22%).

On the other hand, Americans with higher incomes dealing with some form of debt were more likely to address it as a “major decision-making factor" (Between $50,000 and $99,999: 31%; $100,000 or more: 37%).

 

 

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