Create a free Diverse: Issues In Higher Education account to continue reading

Higher Education Will Take Center Stage in 2024 Presidential Election

As the U.S. veers into another major election year, some higher education scholars predict that issues related to the ivory tower will inevitably take center stage.

Timely issues such as student debt and the current onslaught against various progressive social and cultural ideals — matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), race/ethnicity, and identity, among others — will be topics of discussion for President Joe Biden, who is likely to have another faceoff with the presumptive Republican nominee, former President Donald J. Trump.

Student debt

Dr. Robert KelchenDr. Robert KelchenDemocrats are likely to make the student loan debt relief issue a major campaign talking point. The strategy, say scholars, will be to galvanize young voters and those struggling to pay back mounting debt. They’ll argue that the Biden administration tried but was unsuccessful, thanks to Republican opposition and a conservative U.S. Supreme Court, to provide relief and forgiveness to millions of borrowers.

Biden might look to take credit for whatever forgiveness efforts he has been able to push through and explain that the major shortcomings he’s faced on that front are a result of a failure by the Republicans to act, says Dr. Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at Emory University.

Ever since the Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s debt forgiveness plan in 2023 — a plan that would have canceled up to $20,000 in loans for borrowers — Biden and officials at the U.S. Department of Education have sought alternative avenues to bring about debt relief.

One such effort, the SAVE plan — a new and adjusted income-driven repayment (IDR) plan that bases monthly payments on borrowers’ income and family size — was launched in August 2023 as a replacement to the previous Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) plan. By bumping up income exemption amounts so that less of a person’s income is considered discretionary, borrowers face smaller or even $0 monthly payments. The plan also seeks to expedite debt cancellation for smaller borrowers who are enrolled. As of Jan. 11, 6.9 million borrowers are enrolled in the SAVE plan, touted by the Department of Education (ED) as “the administration’s most affordable repayment plan.”

A New Track: Fostering Diversity and Equity in Athletics
American sport has always served as a platform for resistance and has been measured and critiqued by how it responds in critical moments of racial and social crises.
Read More
A New Track: Fostering Diversity and Equity in Athletics