By WILL WEISSERT Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren says she’d order her secretary of education to cancel up to $50,000 in college debt for about 95% of student borrowers on her first day in office, effectively erasing outstanding loans for about 42 million Americans.

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts vowed in a proposal released Tuesday to act immediately and not wait for Congress because the secretary of education already has broad authority to compromise on and modify student loans.

Warren had already promised in previous plans to wipe out student loans for 42 million Americans while offering free tuition at public universities. She’s proposed a wealth tax on fortunes worth $50 million or more to pay for doing so, saying that will raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years.

But those proposals would require congressional approval. Hours before a presidential debate in Iowa, which holds its lead-off caucuses on Feb. 3, Warren said she’d move unilaterally to cancel debt first, then work with Capitol Hill to ensure programs to pay for it become law.

Related: Where 2020 Presidential Candidates Stand On Student Debt

“We’re facing a student debt crisis, and every day counts for families struggling with this burden and for our economy as a whole,” Warren wrote in an online post unveiling her plan.

The senator also wants to reduce backlogs so that qualifying borrowers are able to cancel loans through debt forgiveness plans that are already available. She said that could help an additional nearly 1.75 million borrowers.

And Warren promised that on her first day in office, she’d empower the secretary of education to limit the for-profit college industry and crack down on “predatory” student lending. Noting that black students default on college loans at more than twice the rate of their white counterparts, the senator said she’d order the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate the core causes of and help rectify racial disparities in student borrowing.

In announcing Tuesday’s plan, Warren’s campaign released a letter from three experts at the Legal Services Center at Harvard Law School, where Warren was a professor. They examined the authority granted by statute to the secretary of education and found what Warren was proposing to be “a lawful and permissible use of the authority Congress has conferred” on the department.

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Comments (4)
  1. sese says:

    She been in the senate for a long time, how come she never propose a bill to reduce or pardon student debt. It seems another one of those elections promises that will never come true, of which politicians are very good at making during elections campaign. From what I heard coming from her mouth and her naive comments about the Iran situations, she is not fit to be president.

    One does not become appealing just because he/she negatively attack others blindly. It only appeals to people who do not think or cannot think.

    Trump has faults, but at least he does some of the things he promise in the elections.

  2. Sese says:

    Bottom line, if one take the choose the right field of study, they can pay off the student debt from the high salary they can get after graduating.

    Instead of just paying off student debt, the issues why some people have hard time paying off student debts needs to be look at. Maybe they choose the wrong field of study.

    But better still, college education should be free like what they have in Germany.

  3. This is so hypocritical. Let’s be clear, she’s employed and her “plan” was reviewed by the very institution and industry that continues to benefit from charging students whatever they want for degrees. That’s it. There is no job after college guarantee. Heck if you go for 1 or two years and drop out they still get their money. She’s quick to accuse Wall Street, Amazon of predatory practices yet the College Industry goes unregulated and unchecked. Let’s throw more money at college which is a choice, not a right. K-12 is a right, college is not. Look under the covers of her in-state free tuition plan. The rich are not on the hook for all of it, taxpayers are for a portion. Let’s go after the college’s and lenders not the rest of us that paid for it. While you’re at it, go after the credit card industry which affects many more Americans than those that chose to live away from home, find themselves after 4 years with a degree that doesn’t add up to the price tag. This from the perspective of a father with kids who I do want to go to college at some point, yet I did it part time day and night. BTW I work two jobs and one of them is teaching part time at night.

  4. John Horton says:

    I ;aid for my college, So you can refund my tuition to me. ALL OF IT.

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