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Ballooning Student Debt Debated by Presidential Hopefuls
by Kate Zeller (coord [at] jubileeusa.org)
Friday Jul 5th, 2019 7:46 AM
Republicans and Democrats Propose Student Loan Relief Solutions
Washington DC - American student loan debt topped $1.6 trillion dollars this year, surpassing credit card and auto loan debt combined. More than 45 million people hold student debt, owing an average of $35,000. 20% of current borrowers are behind in student loan payments and the Brookings Institution released data that 40% of student borrowers will default by 2023.

Presidential candidates, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) proposed student debt relief plans. The Sanders plan seeks to eliminate all student debt while the Warren plan offers substantial relief on a sliding income scale.

“Student debt is a cause of inequality and a challenge for our economic growth,” stated Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious debt watchdog group Jubilee USA Network. “Americans need student loan relief and we also need solutions for the root causes of high student debt. We need to reign in for-profit colleges and schools that have low retention rates. Student borrowers should be able to access bankruptcy protection and we need to address the high costs of university education.”

The Trump Administration suggests there should be caps on student lending that, the White House argues, would drive the cost of college tuition down and ensure responsible lending and borrowing. In the last Congress, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC) sponsored the Prosper Act to stop student loans from accruing interest while students are still taking classes. Foxx's legislation would also eliminate or lower other types of federal aid or student loan relief.

"When students graduate with high debts, they don't buy homes and invest in our economy. Student debt is affecting our entire economy and we can not afford to leave this problem unaddressed," noted LeCompte. 

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