Nov 23, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

A lot was at stake heading into the recent midterm elections in the US, and much of it remains unresolved with neither a “blue wave” or a “red sweep” playing out at the polls. Still, experts say the results do give us an idea about what student loan borrowers can expect moving forward. Here’s what they had to say, as reported by MarketWatch.

An Increasingly Prominent Issue

In recent years, the topic of college costs and student loans have been a larger part of the conversation on the campaign trail, with many candidates even discussing their own debt.

And according to experts like Maggie Thompson, executive director of Generation Progress, the youth advocacy arm of left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress, there’s reason to be hopeful on this front -- even with ambiguous election results.

Good News Ahead?

Specifically, borrowers may see several changes at both the federal and state levels, starting with increased oversight by the Department of Education as Democrats take control of the House and gain a better understanding of student loan issues -- not to mention the authority to take on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.  

According to Institute for College Access & Success president James Kvaal, meanwhile, the power shift in the House may also open the door to the parties working together on bilateral student-loan legislation, including the possible reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. “Sometimes a change in control creates new possibilities,” said Kvall.

Experts are even more optimistic at the state level, thanks to changes in leadership -- especially in states like New York, Colorado and Maine, where Democrats took control of both the governor’s offices and the legislature.

Lastly, as more diverse people are entering office, including many from demographics which are disproportionately impacted by student debt, borrower advocates anticipate that their personal experiences may hold more weight.

Whitney Barkley-Denney, senior policy counsel at consumer advocacy group the Center for Responsible Lending, said, “Having a younger generation who has been through what college looks like now and what college affordability looks like now can only help in understanding how this crisis was created and what it really looks like.”

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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