This is part of an ongoing series by Credible about how the 2016 presidential candidates would affect student loans and the financing of education for students and borrowers.
For Republican Lindsey Graham, the senior Senator from South Carolina, a run for the presidency is “91% certain.” That’s what the former U.S. and State House Representative said in an April interview on Fox News. “If I can raise the money,” he said, “I’ll do it.” The traditional Republican is suspicious of the Tea Party, big on military spending and intervention, and critical of student loan reform. Here’s a brief overview of Graham’s record on student debt.
In 2005, Senator Graham voted against an education funding amendment sponsored by Senator Edward Kennedy and co-sponsored by then Senators Barack Obama and John Kerry, among others. The amendment, which passed, closed $11 billion in corporate tax loopholes and used the money to restore vocational education programs that had been cut, to increase Pell Grants to $4,500, and to increase student loan forgiveness for science and math teachers to $23,000.
Reinforcing his pro-lender stance, Senator Graham was the leading opponent of the 2010 legislation that President Obama signed into law regarding the administration of student loans. This initiative eliminated subsidies to private lenders and expanded federal funding for their government lending programs and Pell Grants. Graham said the plan was a government grab and wouldn’t bring down costs for students, in fact declaring that the average student would spend $1,700 to $1,800 more during their life on their loan because of an unnamed surcharge.
Most recently, Senator Graham voted against Elizabeth Warren’s student loan amendment to the 2015 Republican budget resolution. Her proposal would have allowed undergraduates to refinance their loans at a 3.9% interest rate, paid for by “requiring millionaires to pay at least a 30 percent effective federal tax rate,” according to The Hill. The amendment was struck down by Graham and fellow Republicans by a count of 46-53.
While Lindsey Graham is undoubtedly pro-lender and differs from his fellow Republicans. Unlike Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, he hasn’t reframed the student debt crisis debate around technological solutions that enable online learning.
To learn more about what private sector options are available to help graduates with student debt save, visit Credible.