Warren Wants Student Debt Erased Through $640 Billion Plan

Elizabeth Warren

Presidential Election 2020: Who is running for president?

The revenue from Warren's wealth tax proposal - a 2% tax on wealth above $50 million and a 3% tax on wealth above $1 billion - would pay for her newest proposal, her campaign said. And while it may be hard to feel much sympathy for anyone making over $250,000 a year, individuals in high-earning professions can carry massive, life-altering student debt loads.

Warren's campaign estimates her proposal would wipe out more than 40 percent of the $1.5 billion in student debt held by more than 40 million Americans.

Most of the other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have offered proposals to ease student debt and make college tuition free, but most of those plans impose conditions such as income limits or public-service commitments in order to qualify.

Many in the sprawling Democratic field have proposed reforming the nation's student loan programs, but Warren appears to be first to propose flat-out debt cancellation.

Warren also takes aim at for-profit colleges, which have been criticized for saddling low-income students and people of color with debt while providing degrees of dubious career value.

While Warren and her supporters see this as an easy way to address the student loan crisis in America, her proposal could just throw fuel on the fire. Kirsten Gillibrand, another presidential contender, all signed on as co-sponsors of Sanders' 2017 College for All Act, which would have allocated $47 billion annually to states to cover two-thirds of the tuition obligation, leaving states responsible for the rest. Households that make less than $100,000 a year would get $50,000 in loan cancellation, with the amount of relief getting gradually smaller as income level goes up, with households that make more than $250,000 not eligible for any debt relief.

Warren, who said she dropped out of college initially at 19 to get married, said she was able to re-enroll on her waitressing salary when tuition was just $50 a semester.

But Warren's proposal of forgiving outstanding student debt goes a significant step further than previous Democratic policy plans.

For example, if an individual has a total net worth of $50 million - including homes, land, and vehicles - and an annual income of $1 million, he or she would still pay $1 million in taxes. "It's how they pay for books", Warren told CNN.

Warren's proposal also makes significant investments to help lower-income and minority students afford the non-tuition costs associated with attending college.

Warren's campaign has struggled to gain traction in the polls and in fundraising, despite a bevy of policy proposals, national profile as a consumer-rights activist and President Trump repeatedly targeting her.

Warren is not the only 2020 Democratic primary candidate with ideas about lowering the cost of college.

She is also proposing additional federal spending on Pell Grants to help low-income students meet other nontuition costs; additional aid for black colleges; and more money for states that increase enrollment and graduation rates for people of color.



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