March 25th, 2010
12:11 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Big support for student loan change

Washington (CNN) - Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they favor a proposal to increase the amount of money available for college loans by allowing the government to provide those loans directly to students, according to a new poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that 64 percent of respondents favor the proposal and 34 percent opposed it.

The measure is part of a package of fixes that were added by House Democrats to the Senate health care reform bill that was passed by the House on Sunday and signed into law by President Obama Tuesday. The fixes still need to be passed the Senate and then returned to the House for final approval.

The student loan measure, which is a priority for Obama, would end the practice of having private banks offer student loans backed by the government.

"Many Americans may not know that a major change to the federal student loan program is part of the health care legislation moving through Congress, but those changes appear to be generally popular," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The survey also indicates, to a degree, some rare bipartisan support, with a vast majority of Democrats, a solid majority of Independents, and a slight majority of Republicans favoring the proposal.

"There is still a big partisan gap, 82 percent of Democrats support the change, compared to 52 percent of Republicans," adds Holland. "Nonetheless, a majority of both parties have a positive view of the proposal. We haven't seen that very often in recent polls."

The poll was conducted March 19-21, with 1,030 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN poll
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Annie, Atlanta

    Excellent idea – get rid of the middle man, who just so happens, in this case, to be the big banks. If banks can't tone down the greed, I guess we'll have to depend on our government to do it. Is that a bad thing, really? Maybe government isn't all bad after all.

    March 25, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Maybe the quitter from Alaska can borrow some money to get an education.

    March 25, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Lori

    This is great but is the 34% that are against it the Republicans in the Senate? The will vote against it, they are the party that is voting against what the Americans want.......the soreist losers I have ever seen

    March 25, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. gerry

    Oh this can't be! Why this is big government ruling our lives! lol

    March 25, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Sue

    There is NOT going to be any savings by giving the Obama/gubmint control over student loans.

    The only reason that the Democrats are pushing for this-–is because THEY will then be able to raise the interest rates to whatever they want.

    March 25, 2010 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Marc

    It's very simple. Many good students can't afford to pay for college, and as result there's a loss of intelectual 'manpower' in the market every year. To invest in EDUCATION is definitely not a waste of money!

    March 25, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. Debby

    The problem with this, interest will be one flat rate through the governement vs. your choice of going to different banks that are competitive.

    March 25, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. Chas in Iowa

    With the Fed loaning money to banks at less than one percent what do you suppose they will require of taxpaying parents borrowing to put their children through college?
    Current programs are offering loans from 7% to 9%. I think that is a little steep for a college loan.
    With the cost of enrollment going through the roof and the cost of college loans going up and up it is very hard for working parents to provide a college education for their children.

    March 25, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. get real

    Can't wait to hear someone whine about a government takeover of student loans. But, before you do, please realize that the government already provides the money for these loans. Right now they just give it to the private banks who make a profit from the interest, but they pass on any losses to the federal government (taxpayers like you and me). The government is basically cutting out the middleman and saving tons of money (for us, the taxpayers).

    March 25, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Tim

    And according to the Democrats, the healthcare bill will "turbo charge" the economy. I can't wait.

    Much like the stimulus bill super-charged the economy, so much so that we had to invent a new metric, jobs "saved or created", in order to track the fast moving economy.

    I wonder what metric we'll use to track all the positive things the healthcare bill creates. We can't use lives "saved or created" because the death panels will ensure that lives previously saved will not longer be saved, and the abortion language will insure that fewer lives are created.

    How about something like "deficit spending not undertaken". This would signify all future expenditures that don't happen due to the passage of healthcare. Like every dollar no longer spent in the emergency room would be added to the "deficit spending not undertaken" metric. Of course, you wouldn't want to put offsetting new dollars spent due to the passage of healthcare. That would just cause the metric to make healthcare look bad.

    What do you say, any other suggestions?

    March 25, 2010 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Gene

    So...when those loans are forgiven, who pays for it?

    Once you give away free stuff, it's tough to get it back. But, isn't that Obama's plan?

    March 25, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. DJ in TX

    This is NOT a government takeover of the student loan program. The government ALREADY backs the loan. Why did they need the banks to distribute the money. All this does is take out the middle man. Banks can still their own student loan for those that don't qualify for the federal student loan. With the loans being direct from the government vs. going through the bank,that could potentially save some interest. As colleges continue to raise their tuition, this is going to be very important to many Americans.

    March 25, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Laura, Boston

    I'm all for helping students as the majority of people are but I don't believe it should be in the health care bill.

    March 25, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. hoang

    Why don't the congress has a separated bill for this? I think Democrats in the House want to play politic game since they know majority of Americans support student loan change but don't support the currently insurance bill. If republicants vote "nay" of currently insurance bill, democrats will blame that republicant's don't support student loan change. I agrees that health care should be changed. However, the currently health care bill is not efficient. I hope the congress and current administration learned a lession from stimulus package and spend taxpayers' money widely and efficiently. Of course, stimulus package have created jobs and helped economy, but I believe there is other way to get the same result with less money.

    March 25, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    This country MUST return to a pay-as-you-go financing system for college, with students either having their costs covered by parents, or by scholarships and grants, or by personal work earnings.

    The continued expansion of debt, to finance college educations, is unsustainable in the long term, and that includes debt through government payments, which is nothing but a misuse, of public funds.

    College always has been, and must continue to be, a privilege for those who have sufficient resources, with which to pay for the privilege.

    Students cannot be financed through citizen taxation, nor can students continue to incur the heavy debt load that is currently being experienced, where the student leaves college, with tens of thousands of dollars of personal debt. This debt encourages unethical behavior, and misdeeds, to help alleviate the debt. That makes these students bad corporate citizens, among other things.

    March 25, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Tina

    It's my understanding that the government is not reducing the cost of the loan, so it won't change anything for the students. Instead, the government is taking the profit to use toward health care, and at the same time, they are putting thousands of Americans and small businesses out of work by taking their product away from them. I read this on CNN yesterday. Today's article doesn't even mention any of this. College students will be paying for this health care overhaul. They already go so deeply into debt, apparently Obama thinks they won't notice.

    March 25, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. Reform NOW

    It doesn't make any sense that to adavnce in this country we have to pay these ridiculously high student loans. If it's not the banking industry screwing me over, it's Sallie Mae.

    March 25, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Wolfsbane

    I don't agree with the Government taking over Student Loans, though if it means making flexible and uncanny changes then we can a discussion to talk about but based on record, the federal government ain't too good at providing programs. They make it more complicated for anybody who wishes to have a student loan.

    March 25, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. PaulJoseph

    Where was Palin when they built HAARP in Alaska.

    March 25, 2010 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. Texas Jack

    THE STUDENT LOAN IS A GOOD THING, but why is it that when a gang of these people like OBAMA get together the foul language has to roll. Is it because they're not mentably capable of speaking without the M.F. or F. word.

    March 25, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. Bruce

    Republicans...are you listening to the American People now? They say that this is a good fix to the bill. Are you going to support it or not. It is a yes or no vote...no in between unless you abstain or vote present. I know you're not going to vote present after you ranted against Obama for doing the same thing. Oh...wait...I forgot, it's ok for the Republican to be hypocritical...that energizes their base and increases their poll numbers!!!

    March 25, 2010 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Rethugs DO NOT SUPPORT ANYTHING THAT IMPROVES AMERICANS. Period. Don't you get it already? They MUST keep the rabble dumb, scared, hateful and confused so that they may float tothe top like crap in a toilet bowl.

    Can we PLEASE stop giving these traitors time and energy, and get on with the business of helping our President rebuild our country from the ground up.

    By the way, the GOP under the guise of Tea Baggers are now encouraging 'REAL AMERIKKKUNS' to bring their guns and rifles to Washington. HOW ABOUT THAT? Still think this isn't bigotted? Quest for power and bigotry a LETHAL combination.

    March 25, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. Lori in St Pete

    Sounds like a great idea! Remove the middleman and probably save students a fortune! Let's take it even further and remove the middleman, aka insurance corporations from our healthcare! Single payer!

    March 25, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. Four and The Door

    A basic flaw in our system of government is to allow congress to abuse the bill process by combining two completely unrelated issues in one bill. In this case, Republicans who would like to vote on a popular idea for the student loan program have to accept the entire health care bill to vote yes. Of course they will not do that. The health care part of it is one of the worst, most corrupt bills ever to come out of congress. The Democratic leadership is not screwing the Republicans...they are screwing Americans by doing this. Apparently they do not think the student loan program is important enough to be sent through as a separate bill.

    March 25, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. Dano

    Since nearly two-thirds of Americans say they favor a proposal to increase the amount of money available for college loans by allowing the government to provide those loans directly to students, the GOP should be all for it, right? I mean they were all outraged that health care reform was passed when SOME polls showed 52% didn't like the bill being voted on, so they should really be up for this bill which is favored by 64% of Americans. Heck even a majority of republicans favor it.

    March 25, 2010 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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