What Bernie Sanders Running For President Could Mean For Your Student Loans

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If Bernie Sanders runs for president in 2024, here’s what it could mean for your student loans.

Here’s what you need to know.

Student Loans

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If President Joe Biden doesn’t run for re-election in 2024, there’s new speculation that Sanders (I-VT) could launch his third presidential campaign. Sanders, who finished second in both the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries, has been a powerful, progressive voice for student loan forgiveness. If Sanders wins, here’s how he could impact student loans:

1. Sanders could sign an executive order to enact wide-scale student loan cancellation

Biden has canceled $17 billion of student loans, but hasn’t enacted wide-scale student loan forgiveness. If Sanders becomes president, Sanders could seek to sign an executive order to enact wide-scale student loan cancellation. Sanders has long supported total cancellation of all student loan debt, including both private and federal student loans. In contrast, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have proposed legislation to cancel federal student loans only. Like Warren and Schumer, Sanders believes that the Higher Education Act of 1964 grants the president the legal authority to forgive student loans without further congressional approval. Biden has focused primarily on student loan forgiveness targeted at specific student loan borrowers, including a major announcement last week. (Student loan forgiveness: 5 key takeaways from major announcement).


2. Sanders could push Congress to cancel student loans this way

As president, Sanders would no longer serve as a US senator. However, he would likely try to encourage Democrats in Congress (if Democrats still control both houses) to use budget reconciliation to cancel student loans. Sanders understands that Congress is unlikely to pass legislation on wide-scale student loan cancellation, which would be major legislation that would require a 60-vote supermajority in the US Senate. However, Sanders supports using a legislative tool known as budget reconciliation, which requires a simple majority (51 votes), which is a lower threshold than major legislation. Practically, this means that instead of Democrats needing Republican support to get 60 votes in the US Senate, for example, Democrats could enact wide-scale student loan cancellation without Republican support. Budget reconciliation, which is not subject to the filibuster, is limited to policies that change spending or revenue.


3. Sanders could “forgive student loans” for future student loan borrowers

Current proposals for student loan cancellation are for one-time student loan forgiveness. This means that only current student loan borrowers would benefit. That said, Sanders could seek to use executive orders to cancel student loans for future student loan borrowers. Alternatively, Sanders would seek to “forgive student loans” for borrowers before they borrow them. How? Sanders is an ardent supporter of free college. If two-year and four-year community college is tuition-free, then student loan borrowers wouldn’t need to borrow student loans to attend college. However, Sanders would need congressional support to implement a tuition-free college plan. States would need federal subsidies to make their respective state colleges and universities as well as community colleges tuition-free.


Student loans: additional considerations

Importantly, Sanders hasn’t announced his intention to run for president. Biden has said he plans to run for re-election, which could mean that Sanders would be unlikely to challenge Biden. Even if Sanders runs and becomes president, there’s no guarantee that Sanders could legally cancel student loans for all student loan borrowers without further authorization from Congress. There’s also no guarantee that Democrats will control Congress in 2024. Even if Democrats retain majorities in Congress, Democratic leadership may opt not to use budget reconciliation to include student loan cancellation. For example, Democrats control the US House and US Senate. However, Schumer did not use budget reconciliation to enact wide-scale student loan forgiveness. That said, as president, Sanders would prioritize student loan forgiveness and student loan relief.

One thing Sanders alone can’t change is the restart of student loan payments. With temporary student loan relief ending soon, your best strategy is to pay off student loans faster and get out of student loan debt. Here are some popular ways that borrowers are conquering student loans:

Student Loans: Related Reading

Student loan forgiveness: 5 key takeaways from major announcement

Biden will cancel student loans or extend student loan pause before August 31

Here’s who won’t qualify for $6.2 billion of student loan cancellation

Student loan cancellation and the student loan payment pause are confusing. Here’s what to know,

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Credit: www.forbes.com /

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