Where the candidates stand on issues pertaining to students

Matt Poe

Presidential candidates have a wide range of issues and policies to address. Many of them will have a great impact on millennials and college students. Jobs, student debt, gun rights and health care access are just a few issues that can have a major outcome on millennials, depending which candidate is able to enact their respective policies. While this outline serves as a guideline to the candidates, it is important to do individual research when coming to a conclusion on these policies and the rest of the candidates’ policies. For more information on the candidates, these policies and more, visit their respective campaign websites.

Financial Aid/Student Debt

Bernie Sanders (D): Sanders has been adamant about making college tuition free and to eliminate student debt entirely. Sanders cites the model of European countries such as Germany, Finland and Sweden who have all taken the same route in helping create free tuition. Sanders also plans to substantially cut student loan interest rates and allow students to use work-study programs, in the hopes of eliminating student debt. Sanders plans to impose a tax on Wall Street to help finance the funds to make college both tuition and debt free.

Hillary Clinton (D): Clinton states that students should be able to refinance loans at current interest rates, while simultaneously creating an income-based repayment program to ensure that borrowers never pay more than 10 percent of their income. She plans to give free tuition for community colleges and have states maintain current levels of higher education funding and reinvesting over time. Clinton states that the plan will cost around $350 billion over a 10 year-period and will be paid by limiting certain tax expenditures for high-income taxpayers.  

Donald Trump (R): Trump has yet to outline an official plan or strategy in regards to lowering cost of tuition and eliminating debt for college students. Trump stated the following in terms of the federal government profiting off of student in an interview with thehill.com in July 2015: “that’s probably one of the only things the government shouldn’t make money off. I think it’s terrible that one of the only profit centers we have is student loans.”

Ted Cruz (R): Like Trump, Cruz has yet to outline an official strategy to combat student debt. Cruz has faced criticism after voting against the Bank on Students Emergency Loans Refinancing Act in 2014, an act that would have permitted more than 25 million Americans to refinance student loans at lower interest rates. Many Republicans voted against the bill, but Cruz did state in one of his earliest speeches at Liberty University in March 2015 that he “took over $100,000 in school loans and I suspect y’all (students in attendance) can relate to the loans.”

Marco Rubio (R): Rubio has also shared his personal experiences with student debt, stating that he had over $100,000 in debt upon graduating from law school. His plan entitled “The Student Right to Know Before You Go,”  aims to equip families and students with more information on costs and possible debts a student may owe upon graduation. Rubio’s plan states that “school has to tell you how much you can expect to make when you graduate from that degree from that school so people can decide whether it’s worth borrowing tens of thousands of dollars to major in basket weaving.” He stresses that students should have accessible data so they can know “how much they’ll expect to make versus how much they can expect to owe.”

John Kasich (R): Kasich encourages students and school systems to help improve by allowing college students to gain more credits while in high school. Kasich wants to help schools identify ways to control costs and “by paying colleges and universities based on helping students complete courses and graduation, not based on enrollment,” in an effort to keep college affordable.

Gun Control

Bernie Sanders (D): Sanders wants to strengthen background checks on those wishing to purchase guns and for a ban on certain types of semiautomatic weapons, and to eliminate the “gun show loophole,” which allows citizens to purchase firearms without a background check. Sanders also states that there must be “a revolution in mental health” to make sure that people who are mentally unstable to themselves and others receive care instead of having easy access to guns.

Hillary Clinton (D): Much like Sanders, Clinton wants to strengthen background checks and eliminate various loopholes to purchasing guns in the current system. She has pointed to her numerous stances on gun-violence prevention since her time as first lady. Clinton also hopes to ban assault weapons, hold manufacturers and dealers accountable and keep guns out of the hands of persons with violent backgrounds or those willing to purchase firearms with intent to supply them to convicted felons, known as straw purchasing.

Donald Trump (R): Trump believes the politicians are “chipping away at our Second Amendment” and that the amendment should not be infringed upon by anyone. Trump also opposed gun-free zones, as he believes they are an area for shooters to easily and accessibly commit mass shootings and that much of gun control is more about mental health and not the laws.

Ted Cruz (R): Much like Trump and many other Republicans, Cruz stands by the Second Amendment in that it keeps citizens “more safe, free and secure.” Cruz also voted in 2013 against banning high capacity magazines of over 10 bullets and authorized legislation to allow interstate firearms sales in what he calls defeating legislation, which sought to take this right away.

Marco Rubio (R): Rubio is also a strong advocate of the Second Amendment and has criticized President Barack Obama for his attempted restrictions on gun control. If elected, Rubio has expressed that he will repel Obama’s “restrictions on the Second Amendment,” stating that new restrictions will not deter criminals from obtaining firearms while simultaneously hurting everyday citizens’ efforts to keep firearms. Rubio also wants to treat concealed carry permits like driver’s licenses so they aren’t affected when crossing state lines and voted against US involvement in the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.

John Kasich (R): Kasich is a strong defender of the Second Amendment and opposes President Obama’s executive orders on gun control, citing that the amendment is too important to be undermined. Kasich enacted legislation in Ohio that protected the privacy of concealed carriers and allowing for reciprocity licenses with other states where permit holders can carry their licenses. Kasich has also enacted legislation to help remove restrictions on hunter’s licenses and expand hunting in Ohio.

Health Care

Bernie Sanders (D): Sanders hopes to expand off the Affordable Care Act into what he calls ‘Medicare for all,’ which would create a federally administered single-payer health care program. Sanders cites the high amount the US spends on medical expenses and believes that creating a single public insurance system will help cut down on those costs. His figures state that the US spends $3 trillion on health care each year and that his plan will save Americans and businesses over $6 trillion in the coming decade, with middle class families saving, by his estimations, around $5,000 per year in costs.

Hillary Clinton (D): Much like Sanders, Clinton wants to defend the Affordable Care Act and build on its growth, which she believes will make premiums more affordable and lessen the out of pocket costs for families, while expanding access to rural citizens who may have difficulty receiving health care. Clinton has been an advocate for women’s reproductive rights, and states she will continue defending Planned Parenthood in order to ensure that all women have access to affordable contraception and safe, legal abortion.

Donald Trump (R): Trump states that if elected president, he will support an immediate and full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, citing free market principle to broaden healthcare access while simultaneously making it more affordable. Trump also wants to allow individuals to fully deduct health insurance premium payments from their tax returns and remove barriers to entry for drug providers who offer safe and reliable products.

Ted Cruz (R):  Cruz states he plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, commenting that “Washington wants Obamacare, people want liberty.” Cruz states that the government shutdown in 2013 of the Affordable Care Act worked and that is a major victory for Republicans. Cruz says he hopes to disempower the government from getting between patients and doctors so they can make their own healthcare choices.  

Marco Rubio (R): Rubio advocates for a free market approach to healthcare and has stated he is committed to a full repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act, while providing Americans with a refundable tax credit that can be used to purchase insurance. Rubio also wants to strengthen Medicare for senior citizens and give states a per-capita block grant on Medicaid.

John Kasich (R): Kasich calls for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and states that it has actually driven up the cost of insurance. Kasich calls for better primary care to help promote long-term health instead of just reacting when someone is ill. Kasich also wants to “reward value instead of volume,” meaning that different medical backgrounds such as surgeons, hospitals and rehabilitation therapists could earn more by meeting cutting back costs and meeting certain standards, which he states will limit costs to citizens.

Matt Poe is an activities editor and columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].