Nearly Half of Americans Would Take Student Loan Forgiveness Over Free Health Care

LendEDU surveyed 1,000 adult Americans and found many want student loan forgiveness over free health care.

Erase Student Loans. W. Scott McGill / Shutterstock

The 2020 presidential election is right around the corner. Even sooner are the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, the first state primary to help decide the Democratic nominee.

Two hot-button issues in this cycle are higher education and health care.

The former revolves around potential solutions to the $1.61 trillion in outstanding student loan debt and the rising cost of college in the United States. The latter includes ideas on how to fix the nation’s health care system, including the possibility of free universal health care.

LendEDU looked to gauge where the preferences of the American public lay by pitting these two issues against each other. We asked 1,000 adult, voting-eligible Americans if they would prefer complete student loan forgiveness or free health care for all.

Respondents were then asked if they would rather their hypothetical future children or current children have access to free four-year college or free health care.

Full survey results

The following two questions were asked to 1,000 adult Americans with some amount of student loan debt. The survey was conducted online through research firm Pollfish.

(1) Would you rather have the United States’ $1.61 trillion in outstanding student loan debt be completely forgiven or have a free health care for all policy be implemented in the U.S.?

  • 40% of respondents answered “Outstanding student loan debt be completely forgiven.”
  • 60% of respondents answered “Free health care for all policy be implemented in the U.S.”

(2) For your hypothetical future (or current) children, would you rather them have access to free four-year college or free health care?

  • 42% of respondents answered “Free four-year college.”
  • 58% of respondents answered “Free health care.”

Observations and analysis

Although it was a close call, free health care for all preferred over complete student loan forgiveness

Despite poll participants owing some amount of student loan debt, 60% still indicated they would rather see a free universal health care policy be enacted instead of full student loan debt forgiveness, which was chosen by 40%.