A&M political economist: Middle-class families would hurt most from student borrowing caps

Published: Mar. 20, 2019 at 5:15 PM CDT
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Millions of Americans are trying to keep their heads above water as they struggle with student loan debt. Lawmakers have noticed.

"It's great that we're having this conversation--that they're aware of how much of a problem this is," said Raymond Robertson, political economist at the Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service.

Now, the Trump administration is proposing new limits on student borrowing as part of a broader plan to curb the cost of college. The plan says Congress should put a cap on federal student loans to prevent borrowers from taking on unmanageable debt.

While Robertson says something should be done, he also says that it shouldn't be that.

"It seems like this would hit the middle class especially hard because they're the ones taking out the loans," said Robertson. "The poorest families get grants, and the wealthiest families don't need the loans, so it's that middle class that probably would be most affected by this policy."

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has a plan of his own, as well. He is proposing what he calls an easier system for paying back student loans: to have the payments deducted directly out of the borrower's paycheck, within reason.

For the full conversation with Robertson, see the video player above.

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