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Wed Apr 24, 2019, 05:35 PM

 

Warren's Plan to Abolish Student Debt Came From Grassroots Pressure


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BY
Alexis Goldstein, Truthout
PUBLISHED April 24, 2019

The new public higher education proposal that Sen. Elizabeth Warren released this week lifts up demands that grassroots activists have been making for years. Her plan makes public college tuition-free, cancels student loan debt for 95 percent of Americans, invests at least $50 billion in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and stops federal loan money from flowing to for-profit colleges — all paid for by a tax on the ultra-wealthy.

In short, Warren’s proposal seeks to reverse many of the harms wreaked on students in the aftermath of Reaganism, which deployed neoliberal reforms, anti-welfare rhetoric, and aggressive policing to crush activism on campuses, and which paved the way for decimating public investment in higher education.

Warren is not the first presidential candidate to push for such reforms: Since his 2016 campaign, Senator Bernie Sanders has also been calling to make both four- and two-year public universities and college completely tuition free. And while centrist Democratic candidates like Senator Amy Klobouchar say that free college would require a “magic genie,” the United States has had robust, free college before. New York had extensive free college programs until the mid-1970s, as did California. But when Ronald Reagan became Governor of California, he turned the University of California (UC) system into a political boogeyman, sent in the National Guard to quash student protests, and began an ideological assault on higher education as a public good. Governor Reagan proposed creating a tuition for the UC system, which had been free since 1868, arguing that students “might think twice” about “[carrying] a picket sign” if they had to pay tuition.

And pay they have. While Warren paid $50 a semester in tuition for her own public college education in 1983, the average college graduate in 2017 had $28,650 in student debt. Approximately 44 million Americans get student loan bills every month, and together their debt exceeds $1.5 trillion. Navigating student loans is as complicated as doing taxes, and even though servicers are paid by the Department of Education to help, their track record is so abysmal that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (another Elizabeth Warren brainchild) warned in 2015 about widespread failures. Nonprofits like Student Debt Crisis, which hold online webinars to help students navigate their loans, have more demand than they can meet. Meanwhile, 8 million borrowers are in default on their loans, with another borrower entering default every 28 seconds.

FULL story: https://truthout.org/articles/warrens-plan-to-abolish-student-debt-came-from-grassroots-pressure/


Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks during an organizing event in the borough of Queens, New York City, on March 8, 2019.
COREY SIPKIN / AFP / GETTY IMAGES
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Elizabeth Warren

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Reply Warren's Plan to Abolish Student Debt Came From Grassroots Pressure (Original post)
Omaha Steve Apr 2019 OP
BeckyDem Apr 2019 #1

Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Apr 24, 2019, 05:38 PM

1. Warren 2020

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Elizabeth Warren

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