Interest rates on student loans may not drop lower, but tuition can and should.
That's according to Brendan Coughlin, head of consumer deposits and lending at Citizens Bank.
"Tuition growth has been two times wage growth for the last two decades," Coughlin said. "That's really creating this funding gap where the average consumer can't possibly save at the same pace that tuition costs are going up and it's creating a big financial gap."
Student debt is 15% of U.S. GDP, but "You got to really get to the root cause of this," said Coughlin. "So when wage growth isn't at the same pace of tuition growth, there's a funding gap." He mentioned that markets, of course, self correct, but tuitions have not come down, creating an affordability and debt problem.
Coughlin thinks "the federal student loan program [is] actually an enabler to tuition growth because they've provided so much access to cheap capital into the environment and it's enabled schools to not need to control their costs." Regarding a solution, "I would like to see both sides of the aisle come together on a productive solution," he said.
One proposed solution from Democratic candidates is to wipe out student debt, which of course could create a problem for government funding, as much of the student lending comes from government bodies.