Capitol Alert

Let Bernie Sanders fix it? Poll finds student loan borrowers contemplating default

Student debt is on the rise in the U.S.

The student lending market has grown to more than $1 trillion in outstanding debt. By using data and expert interviews, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gives context to consumers considering taking on student loans.
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The student lending market has grown to more than $1 trillion in outstanding debt. By using data and expert interviews, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gives context to consumers considering taking on student loans.

Thinking about defaulting on those student loans on the chance a Democrat gets elected in 2020? You’re not alone.

Nearly a fifth of student loan recipients said they would stop repaying their debt in hopes that a Democratic presidential candidate wins the election and seeks to forgive all student loan debt. This would result in the loss to lenders of nearly $270 billion.

That’s the finding of a new survey from LendEDU, a personal finance website. LendEDU conducted an online survey of 1,000 adults with student loan debt and who plan on voting in the 2020 presidential election.

Several Democrats have announced plans to address the pending student loan crisis – there is currently $1.52 trillion in outstanding student debt in America, according to LendEDU.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has proposed wiping out all student debt, had a plurality of support from those surveyed who said they intended to vote Democratic in the election – 40 percent of those surveyed said they supported the senator from Vermont.

Well behind, but still with double-digit support, were former Vice President Joe Biden, 24 percent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, 13 percent, and Sen. Kamala Harris of California, 11 percent.

Biden has proposed streamlining the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, while Warren and Harris have both proposed income-based loan forgiveness programs.

Those surveyed by LendEDU strongly favored, with 63 percent of respondents, candidates who support student loan forgiveness, with 71 percent favoring the outright elimination of student loan debt. That number included 83 percent of surveyed Democrats and 58 percent of surveyed Republicans.

Despite that, a plurality of those surveyed, 45 percent, said it would be unfair for taxpayers to shoulder the burden of student loan forgiveness, with 35 percent believing it fair and 20 percent unsure.

Nearly half, 49 percent, of those surveyed said it would be unfair for former student loan borrowers to pay the cost of student loan forgiveness, while 33 percent said it would be fair and 18 percent were unsure.

The full survey can be found here.

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for McClatchy. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
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