Senator Elizabeth Warren introduces $1.2 trillion plan to tackle student debt

A trillion dollar proposal by Elizabeth Warren, a 2020 presidental candidate, is putting an end to a financial problem that haunts many students.

By Kimberly Linares, Staff Writer

In some ways the drive for free tuition reflects the growing public anxiety about the value of college. Although, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan seems surreal it would be beneficial to the 95 percent of people burdened with long-term student loans.

Student debt and college affordability have become a key dividing line in the 2020 Democratic race among candidates that share different views as to how students should pay for their college education. Last week, Warren unveiled a sweeping proposal to erase student loan debt for millions of Americans and make all public colleges tuition free, a plan that makes her different from the rest.

Warren is one of the 2020 democratic presidential candidates that released a detailed policy that demonstrates her concern for the high cost of education for students that are in the process of attending college or those who are still paying for it. Her plan would wipe away up to $50,000 in student debt for borrowers with an annual household income of less than $100,000, an estimated 45 million Americans.

“We got into this crisis because state and federal governments decided that instead of treating the higher education like our public school system — free and accessible to all Americans — they’d rather cut taxes for billionaires and giant corporations and offload the rest of higher education onto students and their families,” said Warren on her post with Medium, an online publishing platform.

To accomplish this, Warren proposes eliminating tuition and fees at all two-year and four-year universities with the overall purpose of adopting the idea similar to that of the American K-12 educational system. While also expanding federal Pell Grants for low-income students by $100 billion and creating a $50 billion fund for historically black colleges and universities. Warren estimates the proposed policy would cost approximately $1.25 trillion over 10 years and suggests that costs be covered with revenue from her proposed Ultra-Millionaire Wealth Tax, a 2 percent annual tax on the 75,000 families in the U.S. who have at least $50 million in assets.

Along with Warren, 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang shared his opinion on student debt forgiveness through Twitter.

“I support a forgiveness plan for a huge chunk of student loans. Young people should be buying homes, starting families and starting businesses and not trapped in their parents’ basement paying off phantom loans for years. It’s a better stimulus than shoveling money to banks.”

College debt should not be a worry for students. Under the Department of Education’s standard repayment plan, it takes 10 years to pay off student loans. A student’s life changes after attending college, meaning that priorities shift because many work full- time or begin forming families. So why not take away from the more affluent to help those that are struggling?

Student loan debt in 2019 is at its highest. As of February 2019, Forbes reported that 44.2 million borrowers owe a total of $1.52 trillion in student debt within the U.S. Borrowers in the class of 2017, on average owe $28,650, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

“We expect everyone but the wealthy to take on mountains of debt if they want to get a post-secondary education. This is closing off opportunities for generations of Americans and widening this country’s racial wealth gap,” said Warren on Medium.

In order to succeed and live a life comfortably, higher education is needed; it is the platform that helps students attain success. Without higher education, low-paying jobs are what millenials will rely on to make ends meet. A high school diploma does not do much anymore, and when comparing annual income from a high school graduate to a university graduate, the difference is approximately $24,000.

What other statistics are needed so that education gets prioritized by other presidential candidates? If Elizabeth Warren doesn’t get voted as the next president, then who will bring about the change needed for student debt?