2020 Presidential Candidates and What They Mean for Students

With the 2020 presidential election just around the corner, the possibility for big changes in education, a pressing issue for many student voters, looms large.

So, who are the top candidates for 2020 and what are their policies on education?

Joe Biden

Previously the vice president for Obama, Biden is the number one Democrat candidate as of October 4, 2019, according to the New York Times.

He plans to triple funding for Title I, the federal program that funds school with a high number of students from low-income families and use that funding to give teachers a raise. The funding will also be used to ensure districts provide rigorous courses.

He also wants to fix and simplify the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to help educators pay off student loans.

Biden says he will double the number of nurses, psychologists, guidance counselors, and other health professionals so students can get the mental health care they need.

He intends to work alongside states to provide high-quality, universal pre-kindergarten for all three- and four-year-olds.


Elizabeth Warren

Warren is a Senator from Massachusetts running as a Democrat in the 2020 election.

She plans to erase $50,000 of student debt for anyone with a household income under $100,000 and a progressive ratio for debt cancellation for  households with incomes up to $250,000, at which point there is no debt cancellation.

Warren also wants to make public colleges tuition and fee free, as well as investing in colleges that serve minorities.

She does not have a pre-kindergarten plan.


Andrew Yang

Yang is an entrepreneur and the founder of nonprofit Venture for America running as a
democratic candidate.

His list of policies is extremely comprehensive.

He plans to reduce student loan debt through multiple aspects, such as his 10 x 10 Student Loan Emancipation Act, which would let the federal government buy student loan debt.

Students could opt into a plan to repay it by giving the government ten percent of their salary for ten years, and providing loan forgiveness to education majors who volunteer at places that provide pre-kindergarten.

He also intends to reduce the cost of higher education and work with states to improve teacher salaries. Yang says he will work to fund community colleges so they can provide free or extremely low-cost tuition to anyone from the community.

Yang wants to work with the Department of Education to create a plan for universal pre-K.


Donald Trump

Current president Donald Trump is seeking re-election in 2020.

Trump has allocated more funding towards expanding school choice.

The Department of Education has overseen the first year of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. Plans in 35 states and the District of Colombia have been approved and remaining states are currently under review.

He has made reforms to student aid, such as implementing the year-round distribution of Pell grants so low-income students can access them over summer and winter breaks. This allows students to earn their degrees faster with fewer loans.

Trump has ended regulations he deemed to be harmful and unnecessary. Nearly six hundred regulations have been withdrawn.


Mark Sanford

Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina, seems to be the most prominent Republican to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination.

On his website, Sanford says, “Education is key… It must start early, and it’s never finished.”

He emphasizes the importance of education, but he does not outline any specific policies or programs.