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Making Sense of the Two Candidates’ Plans on Student Debt

If you use the Wayback Machine, a site that archives old versions of websites, to check out what Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign had to say about making higher education more affordable, the answer is: not much.

The education “issues” page on the president’s re-election campaign site featured a single paragraph on capping student loan repayment rates, another paragraph on investing in community colleges, and one promising a college education to veterans, along with attacks on Mitt Romney’s view of each. Mr. Romney’s campaign site featured even less than that, with only vague language about making sure everyone could afford college.

Four years later, Hillary Clinton’s site features a 12-bullet-point plan with a link to a 1,271-word fact sheet about how she would address higher education costs. Even Donald J. Trump’s famously policy-light campaign offers more on the topic than Mr. Romney’s did.