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By Janene Francesco
CCC Journalism Program

As the 2016 election approaches, some Camden County College students and teachers say Hillary trumps the Republican’s plan to handle student loans.

On her Student Loan Forgiveness Plan website, Democrat Hillary Clinton outlines key points she plans to implement if she is elected president Nov. 8.

  • Borrowers will be able to refinance loans at current rates, providing debt relief to an estimated 25 million people. They’ll never have to pay back more than 10 percent of their income, and all remaining college debt will be forgiven after 20 years.

As to whether that is a realistic plan, George Butricia, 38, a Camden County College student, said, “Yes, I know from my own experience after 20 years it would be nice to get a financial break from time to time.”

  • Delinquent borrowers and those in default will get help to protect their credit and get back on their feet.

Jennifer Garrett, Camden County College financial aid manager, said that is possible. “It all is possible depending on what help is available. Right now it is six consecutive payments for a loan to be in good standing.”

  • A new payroll deduction portal for employees will simplify the repayment process – she will also explore more options to encourage employers to help pay down student debt.

As to whether that will be effective, Butricia said, “It could work depending on what you make.” Garrett stated, “It all depends on how much someone makes” and on whether an organization’s contract with employees includes that provision.

On his Make America Great Again website, Republican Donald Trump outlines key points he wants to enact if he wins Nov. 8.

  • Ensure that the opportunity to attend a two- or four-year college or to pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education will be easier to access, pay for and finish.

Garrett said she disagrees with that statement. “He has to define what ‘easier’ means, because the resources for financial aid are out there. How do you have the knowledge, if it has not been presented to you?”

  • Work with Congress on reforms to ensure universities are making a good faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt in exchange for federal tax breaks and tax dollars.

Butricia called that a broad statement. ” ‘Good faith effort’ could mean something different everywhere.”

  • Punish schools financially when their students fail to repay their loans, adding he wants colleges to have their “skin in the game” and be on the hook if too many of their former students default on their loans.

Garrett said that idea is not fair. “They will also be choosy with who they will accept at the colleges.” Butricia stated, “It will have a trickle-down effect like creditors. They will also start to crack down on the financial aid making it harder to obtain.”

Janelle Gibson (left), a financial aid counselor at Camden County College, converses with Jennifer Garrett, financial aid manager. By Janene Francesco, CCC Journalism Program

Janelle Gibson (left), a financial aid counselor at Camden County College, converses with Jennifer Garrett, financial aid manager. By Janene Francesco, CCC Journalism Program

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