Reportedly, there are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe about $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S., averaging about $37,172 per person. However, those who struggle the most owe less having never finished college.
Riding to the rescue is former Harvard professor, Democratic senator, and current presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren.
Her plan: to eliminate student debt and provide “universal, free public college”—at a cost to taxpayers of some $1.2 trillion over a 10-year period. As she sees it: “For decades, we’ve allowed the wealthy to pay less while burying millions of working Americans in education debt.”
USA Today’s Chris Quintana reports that the Warren plan includes:
- Putting a 2% tax on households with a net worth of $50 million or more— “the hyper-wealthy;”
- Having the federal government forgive up to $50,000 in student loan debt in households making less than $100,000 a year;
- Providing less forgiveness to families making up to $250,000 annually and nothing for those making more than that;
- Spending $100 billion to expand Pell grants to cover non-tuition expenses and make public colleges tuition-free;
- Eliminating federal money to for-profit colleges.
Quintana also explains that already “State governments subsidize public schools, and the federal government provides money to most universities through grants and loans. Individual students cover remaining tuition and fees, offset by donor contributions.”
So, should we all be buying into the Warren plan?
An Orange County Register, Media News Group editorial suggests no, offering such reasons as:
- “Student debt would be cancelled for all income-eligible borrowers with outstanding loans without regard to financial need, so even people who are working and able to make regular payments would get the bailout.”
- “People who did not take out loans they couldn’t afford to repay, and people who already paid their loans, would be out $50,000 for making responsible financial decisions.”
- As for current students: “What’s the message? Borrow as much as you can and wait for the debt to be cancelled during the next presidential primary campaign?”
- “It’s also troubling to hear a sitting United States senator so casually proposing the confiscation of some people’s property so it can be given to other people.”
Others, of course, are weighing in, too, including:
- Philip Klein, executive editor of The Washington Examiner: “Debt forgiveness would be a slap in the face to all those who struggled to pay off their loans… and the plan would be tremendously unfair to those who have been struggling for years to pay off their student loans.”
- Robert Kelchen, a student Seton Hall University: “The plan would move resources from older Americans who never went to college or paid off their debt to students who still have debt.”
- Columnist Esther Cepeda and her husband with some $110,000 left to pay off: “These kids and seniors need a bailout, and if that means an ‘unfair’ figurative slap in the face to those of us who aren’t in default, we’re at least in the best financial position to take one for the team.”
- Arizona State University president Michael Crow: “The idea of debt forgiveness and free college are well-intentioned but ultimately counterproductive. Rather than forgiving loans, the government should work toward making sure students graduate. Debt is less ominous with a degree… If the federal government starts covering tuition costs directly, colleges won’t be colleges anymore. They would be government schools, tightly regulated by bureaucrats. That’s not the path to success.”
Now, it’s your turn… ~ With thanks, Carol