One of the biggest challenges we currently face as a country is the rising cost of higher education. A strong public college and university system with affordable tuition costs is one of the keys to economic mobility and a strong middle class. Rising tuition costs and increasing student loan debt have contributed to the unfortunate trend of rising inequality in the U.S.
At the present time, 40 million Americans owe approximately $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. The amount of student loan debt is only behind mortgage debt and exceeds loans for credit cards and automobiles. Something like 70% of college seniors graduate with student loan debt.
This pile of student loan debt is holding back the economy. Young people are holding off on purchasing homes and starting small businesses because they are overly burdened with student loan debt. Many recent graduates will have to put off retirement until they are 75. For millions of young people, it’s like having a house mortgage – but having no house!
If we are to restore the middle class and improve the economy, we have to do something about this problem. The status quo is simply unacceptable and immoral.
Senator Elizabeth Warren has sponsored a bill that would allow people to refinance their student loans and pay a much lower interest rate of 4%. At the present time, millions of young people are paying interest on student loans in the amount of anywhere from 6% or 10% or even higher. Unfortunately, this proposal was blocked by the Republicans in Congress in 2015.
The Republicans in Congress have even gone so far as to try to end student loan forgiveness programs. These programs allow student loans to be forgiven if somebody takes a public service job for ten years. We should be expanding student loan forgiveness programs – not ending them.
We should also significantly expand the ability of the middle class to attend community colleges and in-state public four year universities and colleges. As a member of Congress, I would support two year tuition free community college attendance for those who keep up the appropriate GPA and make steady progress towards a degree.
Similarly, I would support free tuition at in-state four year public colleges and universities for families making $125,000.000 per year or less. I would support adjusting the income level for inflation. I believe that taxpayers should help working families pay for college but not the wealthy. In my opinion, we shouldn’t have to pay for Barron Trump’s college education.
My plans for higher education reform are aimed at strengthening the middle class, boosting social mobility and reducing inequality. The key to a stable and prosperous economy is a strong middle class. If the middle class has more money to spend and increased consumer confidence, everybody wins. I will be a fighter for the middle class as your member of Congress.