Elizabeth Warren releases new plan to relieve student loan debt

Sen. Elizabeth Warren called for “big structural change” in her Liberty and Justice speech Nov. 1 in Des Moines. This followed the announcement of her “Medicare for All” plan earlier that morning. 

Jake Webster

Elizabeth Warren released a new plan Tuesday to alleviate the student debt of millions of Americans.

In a press release, Warren said “we can’t afford to wait for Congress to [cancel student debt].”

“So I will start to use existing laws on day one of my presidency to implement my student loan debt cancellation plan that offers relief to 42 million Americans — in addition to using all available tools to address racial disparities in higher education, crack down on for-profit institutions and eliminate predatory lending,” Warren said in the release.

Warren had previously released a plan to cancel debt for “more than 95 percent of the nearly 45 million Americans with student loan debt” and provide tuition-free public college and university education.

The Massachusetts senator said during her time in Congress she has learned “the department of education has broad authority to end [the student debt] crisis” and as president she would use that authority.

In Warren’s new plan, she said she would “direct the secretary of education to use their authority to begin to compromise and modify federal student loans consistent with my plan to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for 95 percent of student loan borrowers (about 42 million people).”

Warren noted the “burdens of student debt are not distributed equally across all Americans.”

The Institute on Assets and Social Policy at the Heller School for Social Policy at Brandeis University found “about half” of all black borrowers and one third of latino borrowers default on their loans within 20 years.

A quarter of the overall population default on their loans within 20 years, the institute found in their analysis.

Warren said in her plan she would use all the existing authorities at her “disposal” to work to eliminate racial disparities in higher education, “encourage investments in public higher education that improve affordability and limit indebtedness, exclude predatory for-profit colleges from accessing federal aid, and crack down on predatory lending products.”

The Trump administration has taken multiple actions to either eliminate or has proposed eliminations of subsidized student loans and public service student loan forgiveness, among other changes to student loans.

Warren said in the plan her administration would work to “roll back harmful changes by the Trump administration to the [rules that govern loan forgiveness programs] and implement new rules to ensure that borrowers get the greatest opportunity to cancel their debts allowable under the law.”

“If we want to achieve the kind of big, structural changes that will make our education system, our economy, and our society work for everyone, we’re going to need to use every tool, every scrap of opportunity that comes our way, to help working families,” Warren said in the plan. “The future of our economy and the lives of a generation of student loan borrowers are at risk, and I’m committed to seeing this fight through no matter what.”