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2016 presidential candidates agree higher education needs change

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For all of their differences, presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle may be able to agree on one thing: reforming student loans.

Both Democratic candidates have released comprehensive plans for higher educations, while Marco Rubio appears to be the only Republican candidate to have done so. Regardless, there seems to be agreement on both sides that college is too expensive and student loans too burdensome.

Take a look at the candidates' plans below.

Hillary Clinton: The former Secretary of State's plan is designed to make sure no student will have to take out loans to attend school. 

The goal of "The New College Compact" is for students to not have to take out loans to attend private colleges and universities. Community college would also be free under this plan.

The plan also allows student loan holders to refinance at lower interest rates.

Bernie Sanders: Sanders' plan also calls for more funding for higher education at the state level and greater accountability measures for the schools.

His plan would change higher education more than any other candidate. Under his plan, college would be free. Under his previously proposed College for All Act, Sanders would make public colleges and universities tuition-free.

Additionally, Sanders proposes to change the formula for determining student loan rates, allowing borrowers to refinance their outstanding debts at lower rates and increasing federal funding for work study programs.

In order to pay for 67 percent of this, Sanders would raise taxes on the finance industry. The other money for the plan is supposed to come from state funding.

Marco Rubio: The Florida senator is focused on changing much of higher education. Rubio wants to create a new accreditation agency that will better be able to evaluate nontraditional higher education institutions. 

Rubio also wants to change student loan repayments to a system based on income. Payments made on student loans would be done as a proportion of income earned, theoretically keeping people with lower incomes from being swallowed up by their debts.

Student debt is a personal subject for Rubio, who famously had six figures of student debt at one point.

Ted Cruz: The Texas senator has not released a plan for higher education reform. However, he has called for the abolishment of the federal Department of Education.

Donald Trump: Like Cruz, the real estate mogul has not released a higher education plan. He has previously said of the Department of Education during a speech at the South Carolina Tea Party Convention: "You could cut that way, way down." 

Trump is also being sued for fraud for his role in "Trump University," a real estate leadership program that some have called a scam.

John Kasich: Kasich touts his record on higher education as governor of Ohio. Tuition at public colleges and universities in the state is currently frozen, and his administration is changing state funding from a per-student method to one that is more performance based.

Ben Carson: Dr. Carson has given no plan for higher education other than calling for a more streamlined and transparent lending process for those who need to take out loans. Carson's website states, "the Department of Education needs to get out of the lending business."


Jesse Pound is a journalism and economics senior and the Editor in Chief of The Daily. He has previously worked as a business intern at The Oklahoman and The San Antonio Express-News.

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