Home News Warren Shakes Up Student Loan Debate – Inside Higher Ed

Warren Shakes Up Student Loan Debate – Inside Higher Ed


Presidential candidate proposes canceling student debt for most borrowers, making public higher education free, adding billions in support for minority-serving institutions and kicking for-profit colleges out of federal aid system.

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s call Monday to wipe out student debt has ignited a debate over the scale of federal action needed to deal with the growing loan burden borne by many borrowers.

The $1.25 trillion proposal received praise by progressive groups for its ambition and its explicit focus on racial equity. But some higher ed experts questioned whether it offered too many benefits to college graduates who don’t require assistance from the federal government.

Warren’s plan would completely wipe out the debt of three-quarters of student loan borrowers, according to her presidential campaign.

It would offer up to $50,000 in student loan cancellation to borrowers with household income of up to $100,000. Borrowers with six-figure incomes would receive graduated loan forgiveness, and those earning more than $250,000 would receive no debt forgiveness.

The proposal would also eliminate tuition at two- and four-year public colleges by creating a partnership between the federal government and states (an idea many GOP governors rejected in 2016). And it would add $100 billion to the Pell Grant program to cover the full cost of college attendance at public institutions.

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