Skimm2020PUBLISHED JAN 27, 2020

2020 Election: Education

Education 2020

The Story

The cost of college makes everyone want to cry.

The Background

In the past few decades, the cost of college has gone up, up, annnd up, contributing to the nation’s $1.5 trillion student debt problem. Millennials are saying 'we wish' to traditional milestones that contribute to economic growth – like buying a house. Some are graduating with debt only to be underemployed. 

All of this has led to a debate about how to make college more affordable and help graduates manage their debt. Proposals from 2020 candidates range from making four-year public schools completely free to increasing debt forgiveness for certain professions. 

Meanwhile, a wave of teacher strikes that started in 2018 brought attention to low teacher salaries. Some candidates are pushing plans to use federal dollars to help subsidize teacher pay. Other issues you’ll hear about on the campaign trail: whether the government should fund a national pre-kindergarten program (sometimes referred to as universal pre-k). Candidates also have strong feelings about school choice, aka allowing families to choose to send their kids to charter or even private schools with the help of taxpayer dollars.


Education has historically been an issue left up to local and state governments. But the student debt problem and a desire to address growing inequality across the country have made it a frequent talking point in the 2020 presidential race. Here’s where all the candidates stand:

Editor's note: This page will be updated as the candidate field narrows

Donald Trump Republican
President Donald Trump
  • Supports school vouchers (giving students public funds to go to private or charter schools)

  • Proposed a cap to the amount of federal student loans graduate students and parents can take on

  • Reduce # of available repayment plans

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Joe Biden Democrat
Former VP Joe Biden
  • Two years of free community college or job training

  • Universal pre-k for three and four-year-olds

  • Reinstate Obama-era policy to ensure schools are desegregating

  • Increase funding for schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families

  • Up teachers' paychecks, give them more student loan forgiveness

Read more

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Guns 2020