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Trump's $5.6 Billion Education Cuts Would End Student Loan Forgiveness Program

With the deficit and debt both ballooning during the Trump administration, the president's proposed $4.8 trillion budget for 2021 would introduce a wide swath of cuts in an attempt to rein in spending and slash the deficit.

Included in an overall proposed cut of 7.8% to the Department of Education is a favorite of Trump's administration: The elimination of the popular Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program.

For the fourth year in a row, President Trump has proposed cutting the program altogether.

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Congress has obviously rejected the administration's proposal every year so far, but that isn't stopping Trump's team from trying.

"They have certainly ignored this president's savings proposals for the first three years," White House Office of Management and Budget acting director Russell Vought told CNN. "That may very well continue this year. But it would be unfortunate."

So, what exactly is the program the Trump administration is targeting?

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The Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Program, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007, affects public servants like teachers and nurses. The program forgives federal student loans for eligible government or nonprofit workers who have made 10 years of payments on-time.

The president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have argued that eliminating the program will benefit taxpayers by saving the government billions of dollars in federal student loans.

On the other hand, cutting the program could have a detrimental affect on many, many workers, and whether future workers choose public service careers.

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Supporters of this specific program argue that it's critical for attracting talent to the public service and non-profits when they can generally make more money in private sector jobs.

Teachers, nurses, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, prosecutors, public defenders, and members of the Armed Forces could all be affected.

Whether or not student loans should be forgiven has become a hot-button campaign issue in 2020.

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A pair of front-runners in the Democratic presidential race have made significant student loan forgiveness pledges.

Elizabeth Warren's plan proposes canceling $50,000 in student debt for borrowers whose household income is below $100,000. Those with a household income between $250,000 and $100,000 would receive student loan relief on a sliding scale.

Bernie Sanders has proposed wiping out the all $1.6 trillion of student loan debt altogether.

Voters clearly favor some form of student loan relief.

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A poll by The Pew Charitable Trusts showed that 80% of Americans believe the government should make it easier for borrowers to repay their student loan debts.

Another poll, by Hill-HarrisX, showed that 58% of registered voters favored a proposal to make public colleges, universities, and trade schools tuition-free.

h/t: Forbes, CNBC, CNN