What Kamala Harris Could Mean For Your Student Loans

Where does Kamala Harris stand on student loans?

Here’s what you need to know.

Student Loans

Now that Joe Biden chose Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate, it’s helpful to understand what Harris, if elected vice president, could mean for your student loans. Of course, her positions as a former California attorney general and U.S. senator may differ from her positions as a potential vice president. As Biden’s running mate, Harris and Biden are expected to adopt the same positions on student loans. However, here are some of Harris’ key positions on student loans that she has shared previously:

Student loan forgiveness

Harris supports student loan forgiveness. However, she didn’t support a proposal from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to cancel all $1.6 trillion of federal and private student loan debt. Rather, during her presidential campaign, she proposed to cancel up to $20,000 of student loan debt. However, under Harris’ plan, not everyone would have been eligible to receive student loan forgiveness. For example, borrowers who received Pell Grants, which are available to low-income students to help pay for college, could receive student loan forgiveness if they started and ran a business for at least three years in a disadvantaged community. Harris also supports a plan from Senate Democrats to cancel $10,000 of student loan debt, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.


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Public Service Loan Forgiveness

Harris supports the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which is a federal program created in 2007 that forgives federal student loans for borrowers who work for qualifying public service and non-profit employers and meet other requirements. Harris supports the What Can You Do For Your Country Act, a legislative proposal that would simplify public service loan forgiveness in several ways, including:

  • make all federal student loans (including FFELP loans, for example) and federal repayment plans eligible for student loan forgiveness;
  • help borrowers receive partial student loan forgiveness after five years instead of 10 years of student loan repayment

Harris, along with other U.S. senators, has called for these student loan benefits to be included in the next stimulus package. However, don’t expect student loan forgiveness to be included in the next stimulus package. To date, these student loan benefits are not included in the proposed Heals Act, which is the ~$1 trillion stimulus package that Senate Republicans proposed.


Free College

Harris has supported tuition-free college. For example, Harris supported legislation that would make community college and four-year public colleges student loan debt-free. Biden has called for tuition-free two-year and four-year public colleges and universities for those who earn up to $125,000 in annual income. Harris also supports investing $60 billion into Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Biden has proposed a Covid-19 student loan forgiveness plan to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt for each borrower and forgive all undergraduate tuition from two- and four-year public colleges and universities.


For-Profit Colleges

Harris has opposed for-profit colleges. For example, in 2016, as California’s attorney general, Harris helped to secure a $1.1 billion judgment against Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit education company. Harris also has supported the borrower to defense to repayment rule, which helps borrowers who are victims of fraud receive student loan deb cancellation. President Donald Trump vetoed a major student loan forgiveness bill regarding borrower defense to repayment. In June, the House of Representatives failed to override the president’s veto.


How to pay off student loans

No matter who wins the presidential election this November, make sure you have a game plan to pay off student loans. What’s the best way to start? Start with these four options, all of which have no fees:


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