Gov. Pence and Parent PLUS Borrowing: A Lesson in High Student-Loan Debt

A lot has been said of Donald Trump’s wealthy status and his inability to relate to average, middle-income Americans. But his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, can identify with millions of parents of college students, according to his financial disclosure statement released this week.

Pence lists seven outstanding federal “Parent PLUS Student Loans” on his financial disclosure form. The U.S. Department of Education says that PLUS loans are federally subsided loans that graduate or professional students, and parents of dependent undergraduate students, can use to help pay for college or career school. PLUS loans can help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid.
“Like many American families, we have been fortunate and blessed to raise three wonderful children and put them through college while doing work that we love,” Pence said in a statement accompanying the disclosure.
Indeed, the college debt load from the Pence household is substantial, like that of many homes across the nation. Parents of 716,000 undergraduates borrowed from the PLUS program for the 2014-2015 school year, said the most current update from the College Board. The average PLUS loan size per child that year was $14,750.
Altogether, Pence owes somwhere between $95,000 and $280,000 on his PLUS loans. Candidates are not required to release exact amounts, only ranges. The years in which those loans were incurred range from 2013 to 2015. The interest rates on the loans range from 6.1 percent to 6.9 percent
The average cost of just one year at a private college is nearly $44,921 including tuition, room and board. According to media reports, the governor’s two daughters attended private schools.
The average cost of one year at a public school could run about $20,000 for in-state students, and nearly $34,000 for non-residents.
Here’s more information on PLUS federal loans.

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