For those currently pursuing an advanced degree, have plans to attain one, or who have recently graduated, the world has changed in ways never expected. Many students graduating in majors related to the healthcare sector actually managed to graduate and be licensed months sooner, all so that they could get out into the world field faster and help with fighting the coronavirus epidemic. Some only months away from graduation have had to unexpectantly take a gap year, either because of issues related to finances, health, or family concerns. This is why the results of the upcoming 2020 presidential race are of major concern to anyone and all pursuing higher education.
Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education
At present, Betsy Devos is the Secretary of Education, in charge of the United States Department of Education. Her job is to oversee and enforce all of the rules and regulations set forth to protect students in colleges, nursing schools, law schools, and other institutions of higher learning. Ms. DeVos has been criticized more than once in the past for ignoring federal rules that were set forth to help students paying back loans, facing discrimination, and seek eligible for assistance with paying college tuition. As she was named by the Trump administration, her tenure is at risk. If Biden is elected president, Ms. DeVos will surely be replaced, and a new secretary will take over. If that happens, students and graduates will absolutely see change.
Automatic Forbearance on Existing Federal Student Loans
Anyone with student loans has benefitted from the fact that most federal loans have been in automatic forbearance since this past spring. This means that no payments are currently due, enabling many borrowers to free up hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, each month. However, these loans are eventually going to come due, with payments resuming. In some cases, students expect their student loan payments to become even more expensive. This has many people recalibrating future plans, with some choosing to forgo enrolling in master’s degree, Ph.D., nursing school, and other advanced degrees. Enrollment on online nurse midwifery programs is going up, and students are beginning to consider remote learning as the most realistic education option. College tuition rates and existing student loans are having the biggest impact on student college enrollment decisions.
Changes to the Tax Code in 2020
Come late winter of 2020, the next federal tax season will commence. Taxpayers earning less than $100,000 a year have already seen their taxes go up and the size of their refunds decrease, on average. College students in particular experienced negative changes, as they had fewer write-offs to claim, whether or not they could be claimed as dependents. For the group of people who depend on federal tax refunds the most, receiving a smaller tax refund, or even being surprised with a bill, has been very difficult. However, at this point, people can only estimate how far the impact of the next round of tax code will extend.
Biden’s Plan to Forgive Student Loans Debt
Whether its democrats attempting to include measures for student loan forgiveness in federal economic stimulus proposals, or republicans revealing their own separate plans, student loan forgiveness is a hot topic. The fact of the matter is that college graduates, including millions of nursing school and midwifery program graduates, owe trillions in student loan debt. This level of debt is tripling, as it prevents graduates from buying homes, as well as just keeping up with minimum payments. Relief of some form has been talked about and acknowledged as being necessary, but when will it come?
The Biden campaign has promised to prioritize eliminating a minimum of $10,000 in student loan debt for all. If that were to happen, those who owe student loan debt could see their monthly payment reduced by hundreds of dollars each month.
The Next Economic Stimulus
As people wait for news of if and when the next economic stimulus package will be passed, students remain in the dark. The last round of economic stimulus checks did not go out to most college students. If you were a full-time college who worked, but you were claiming as a dependent, you did not receive a check for $1,200. Some politicians are pushing for the inclusion of full-time college students in the next round of payments, but there have been no proposals passed. The next U.S. president is going to have a lot of influence over whether full-time college students will get economic assistance from the government.
How Working Students May be Taxed Differently in the Future
Just because you are a student who works and goes to school full-time, it doesn’t mean that you are taxed as you might expect. First, the IRS looks at where you go to school versus where you live. If you claim yourself as a dependent, then you might have tax shelters in the form of write-offs for college expenses. Moreover, students who claim others as dependents, claim continuing education credit write-offs, and otherwise meet other requirements, might get a little more back than their peers, on average. In the future, refunds may be smaller for college students as they will be taxed more on the same wages.
Why It Comes Down to Who Becomes President
As college campuses have shut down, many are waiting with bated breath to see if and when things may return to some semblance of being normal. Some students have started to take more credits each semester, just so they can graduate faster. There are also students who have transferred from out of state universities to local colleges, moving back in with their parents to make everything more affordable. The economy is down, coronavirus is of huge concern, and everyone is watching for the results of the next election for the U.S. president.
Even after the election is over, people might still not know who the 46th president is going to be. It is expected that either candidate may contest the outcome of the election, leading to a somewhat long-term potential courtroom battle. At some point, students in the U.S. will come to know how higher education has been impacted by the results.