Ever since Kamala Harris’ announcement to run for President in the 2020 elections, many people on several media platforms have been keeping a critical eye on the candidate. Many have been very vocal about her criminal justice record as the former district attorney of San Francisco, among other things. But more-so recently, people are finding that her student loan forgiveness plan may not be as effective as she is proposing.
On July 27th, Senator Harris tweeted, “… As president, I’ll establish a student loan debt forgiveness program for Pell Grant recipients who start a business that operates for three years in disadvantaged communities.” She follows up in the thread by clarifying, “Student loan relief for Pell Grant recipients is just one component of our plan to reduce the opportunity gap for Black entrepreneurs—along with $12 billion in direct capital. We can ensure Black entrepreneurs have a real shot at starting small businesses.”
The plan was not received well by people, with many insisting that it’s ineffective. “It’s counterproductive,” says college student Sandra Chen. “Her plan only applies to a small fraction of students facing hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. It’s not even a plan. The students that qualify are poor, yes, but she’s demanding that these people put themselves at even more of a financial risk for years just so she can send them a gift card in the mail as an afterthought.”
Jacobin Magazine says, “Additionally, why is Harris focusing on more businesses in poor communities rather than what they more desperately need: more social services, better healthcare, better schools, more public parks and community centers, better and more affordable housing, and higher wages. New businesses mean new jobs, but so does public investment. If jobs are the objective, public money would be better spent on job-creating public infrastructure projects and social programs.”
Other presidential candidates have varying plans, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren. According to Vox, “Warren’s plan is unique in that is would assist former and future college students alike. The plan would cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for an estimated 42 million Americans, and invest in debt-free college for students attending two- or four-year public institutions.”
Senator Bernie Sanders has a plan even more radical than that, stating that, “I will cancel all $1.6 trillion of your student debt.”
However, Kamala Harris’ plan seems to be the least desirable among students facing the student loan crisis. The general common thread of agreement has been that the qualifications are too particular, and that it doesn’t even shed off that much debt. There is still some time left for the Senator to polish her plan. But even so, after the presidential elections may end for her, student loan debt for millions of people doesn’t.