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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/4/17

Trump should keep college debt pledge

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By Robert Weiner and Ryan Powers

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Article originally published in the San Antonio Express-News

During the election, candidate Donald Trump expressed that he planned to tax wealthy universities that did not use a sizable portion of their endowment to support low-income students. In October, he proposed that borrowers repay no more than 12.5 percent of their annual income over the span of 15 years, forgiving all additional debt.

The new administration's budget proposal has no such plan for higher education.

On March 29, billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, tweeted at the president to ask when the Trump administration will address the rising costs of college and student debt.

President Trump repeatedly says how proud he is of his Wharton degree. If higher education is the key to success, then growing college expenses are an unavoidable issue the Trump administration must address.

In Texas, only 27.6 percent of residents have an accredited degree from a four-year university. By this standard, the state ranks 29th out of 50 states, according to recent census data.

At St. Edward's University in Austin, tuition for a full-time undergraduate student in fall 2009 totaled $24,040. In fall 2016, this figure sat at $55,800. Next year, it will cost a projected $58,700. For low-income students, a college degree becomes less attainable every year.

The Trump administration's budget proposal would end the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program, a critical funding aid to low-income students. It would reduce funding for the federal work-study program, which employs hundreds of thousands of students unable to afford the full expenses of college.

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