During a Thursday afternoon press conference for his executive order to protect free speech on college campuses, President Donald Trump noted that his administration is gearing up to address the skyrocketing cost of universities in the United States.
The president noted that many young Americans are strapped with student debt due to the rising cost of a college education. Trump acknowledged that many students come out of universities with more debt than they can afford to pay off, given their degree choice.
He announced that he would be asking his administration to publish data about potential earnings post-college so that students can be more informed prior to choosing a college. He hopes this is one way to incentivize colleges to lower tuition.
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“Student loan debt — I’m going to work to fix it because it’s outrageous what’s happening. You’re not given that fair start. You’re too far down. It’s not right, and we’re going to work very, very hard to get it fixed. But we’re going to start with 43 million people in the United States are currently working to pay off student loans. We’ll be talking about that very soon. We’re going to work on that very soon. I’ve always been very good with loans. I love loans. I love other people’s money. We’re going to work on it.”
Trump hinted at a few of the policies his administration may implement, with many focusing on transparency for potential students.
“Typically, students who take loans do not have access to critical information about what career outcomes they can expect from their programs, majors, or fields of study. They borrow more money than they could ever expect to pay off or pay back. Many middle-class American families are getting ripped off, while tax-exempt colleges and large institutions, frankly, they take these tremendous endowments — you look at the money they have. They’re making a fortune.
The president said the Department of Education and the Treasury would be releasing data on loan repayment rates and earnings rates for various fields of study at every school.
Beyond Thursday’s announcement, the Trump administration has been working to change the national attitude about trade and technical programs that offer certifications in high-demand jobs with little to no student debt. As IJR previously reported, White House adviser Ivanka Trump has been pushing to have a more inclusive conversation about education.
“Education is not higher education or technical education or trade education, it’s education,” she said. “It’s education with a goal of the result being an ability to provide for yourself.”