Bush Shares Ideas To Reshape Student Loan Market

Feb 5, 2016

Jeb Bush speaks to potential primary voters in Laconia, N.H.

LACONIA, N.H.  — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is campaigning in New Hampshire this week before the first-in-the-nation primary election on Feb. 9.

 

After finishing sixth in the Iowa Caucuses, Bush is making several campaign stops a day hoping to win over voters.

 

At a Town Hall in Laconia, Bush spoke for about 20 minutes before taking audience questions for an additional hour. The audience members were almost all elderly, but there was one young man who made sure Bush addressed young voters' concerns.

 

“What would you want to do to solve the problem of student loans debt?” the millennial said.

 

Right now the amount of national student loan debt is $1.2 trillion. Bush received a positive reaction from the crowd when he dismissed the current student loan system. 

 

“What we proposed is actually pre-K to life reform of education because all of it is bad,” Bush said.  "All of it’s not been modernized and brought to the 21st century.”

 

He said he would first have the Department of Treasury manage the loan portfolio.

“The Department of Education is not designed to manage a loan portfolio of $1.2 trillion,” he said. “It’s doubled in size, by the way, since Obama nationalized the student loan program through Obama care.”

The former governor went on to say he would completely eliminate the current system because it is complicated, burdensome and bureaucratic.

 

Bush is proposing an income-based financing system. He says it would give a $50,000 line of credit to any high school graduate through an education savings account.

 

“Part of it is to create education savings accounts for people who are near or at the poverty level. Where you can build up that, so they can afford college. That’s the first part of this,” he said. "Or they can use it to go to private schools in the k-12 setting. Or they can use it for apprenticeship or other things.”

 

Bush said if students took the full loan amount, they would pay back 5 percent of their income for 25 years.

 

He said those who have student loans would be able to opt into his plan if they wish, or they could continue with the plan that operates under the current system.

Bush said his proposed plan would also hold schools accountable, and would lower tuition costs.

“Schools should have skin in the game. If you can't get the degree in the time expected to get it, there should be withholding of some of this money so that universities do everything that they can to fulfill their part of the bargain,” Bush said.

Bush closed by urging voters to get out and vote on Feb. 9.

“History is going to be determined by what you all do Tuesday night, and I'm excited about it,” Bush said.