Elizabeth Warren unveils $640 billion college debt forgiveness plan

The Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren says the proposal unveiled Monday would eliminate almost all student loan debt for 42 million Americans, canceling $50,000 in debt for each person with household income under $100,000.
Published April 22
Updated April 22

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is proposing the elimination of existing student loan debt.

The Massachusetts senator says the proposal unveiled Monday would eliminate almost all student loan debt for 42 million Americans, canceling $50,000 in debt for each person with household income under $100,000.

Warren says the debt cancellation proposal would create a one-time cost to the federal government of $640 billion.

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.

Among Warren’s other proposals is elimination of tuition and fees for two- and four-year public college degree programs, as well as a $100 billion investment in Pell Grants, a federal aid program that requires no payback.

Tuition-free higher education was a mainstay of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential run. Warren, Harris and Sen. 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.

Warren announced the policy ahead of a CNN town hall in New Hampshire focusing on issues important to young voters. Her slot in the five-hour broadcast Monday comes along with other appearances by Harris, Sanders and Sen. Amy Klobuchar as well as Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Following New Hampshire, Warren this week is making stops in South Carolina, Texas, Iowa and Nevada.

Advertisement