Economy

3 Steps to Debt-Free College for Everyone

April 21st 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

Half a dozen Democratic Senators introduced a resolution Tuesday aiming to make public universities and colleges debt-free for students.

The debt-free college plan, which is being organized by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), intends to boost financial aid, reduce tuition fees, and allow students to graduate in a timely manner. The goal is to bring down the debt load for graduating students.

This week, the PCCC will be holding events at ten public colleges across the country in hopes of making college costs and student loans a major topic during the 2016 presidential election, according to The Washington Post. The effort aligns itself with "the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party," so it should come as no surprise that Senator Warren (D-Mass.) is a major player behind the resolution.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also supports the resolution.

“When students graduate with loads of debt, the ripple effects are endless; they're less likely to start a business, to buy a house, and to realize their full potential," Schumer said in a statement. "When it comes to making college affordable, I'm hopeful that debt-free college is the next big idea."

Notably, the PCCC has a plan to actually lower the cost of college. That plan includes college credit students can receive through Advanced Placement (AP) courses, an improved transfer credit process between community and state colleges, and lower textbook fees through the use of open-access textbooks.

Warren has previously addressed the negative effects of student debt, and she said Tuesday that it's "crushing" young people in America.

“Our country should be investing in higher education and working with colleges and universities to bring down tuition costs so that students don't have to take on crushing debt to get an education,” Warren said in a statement.

Warren recently went on The Daily Show and Conan to discuss her many qualms with America's outrageous student debt problem. On Conan, she explained that student loans earned the government roughly $66 billion from 2007-2012 alone.

"The United States government should not be making profit off the backs of kids who are trying to get an education,” Warren told Conan. "As a government, we can decide we’re either going to spend the same lump of money either to keep tax loopholes open for billionaires or to reduce the interest rate on student loans — and you want to guess who’s winning right now? The billionaires, and that’s wrong. That’s why we have to fight back."

Warren previously introduced the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act in an effort to decrease student loan interest rates.

“Young people who are working hard to build a future deserve a real opportunity to succeed and that means letting struggling borrowers refinance their student loans to take advantage of lower interest rates – the same way people refinance a mortgage, a car loan, or business debt,” Warren said in a statement announcing the bill. “The Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act would give much-needed relief to millions of borrowers, help boost our economy, and strengthen America’s middle class.”