Election 2020

Democratic contenders draw contrasts on free college, student debt

In first debates of Democratic presidential primary, candidates outline contrasting visions on college affordability, student debt.

Sanders outflanks Warren with proposal for universal student loan debt relief

Critics of both plans say Sanders's proposal for universal debt relief amplifies existing issues with Warren's plan, which includes caps on income for beneficiaries.

Presidential hopefuls get behind Pell Grants in prisons

Most candidates seeking Democratic nomination support repealing ban on federal aid for incarcerated students. One of the few exceptions? Joe Biden, author of the crime law that enacted the ban.

Democrats take aim at student loan alternative and colleges that offer income-share agreements

Senator Elizabeth Warren and congressional Democrats question Trump administration's plans to back income-share agreements -- and demand answers from colleges offering the financing, too.

Warren plan puts spotlight on racial disparities in student debt

Massachusetts Democrat’s student debt forgiveness plan explicitly addresses racial disparities in student debt, an unusual step for a presidential campaign proposal.

Elizabeth Warren plan moves goalposts of college affordability debate

Presidential candidate proposes canceling student debt for most borrowers, making public higher education free, adding billions in support for minority-serving institutions and kicking for-profit colleges out of federal aid system.

Democratic contenders' higher ed positions go well beyond free college

The 2016 Democratic primary was defined in part by free college. But contenders seeking the party's nomination in 2020 have focused on a wide range of issues in higher ed, including debt relief, for-profits and sexual misconduct.

Sanders, Democratic colleagues introduce new free-college bill

The Vermont senator’s proposal includes free tuition and fees at public universities for all students with family income up to $125,000 and would cut student loan interest rates in half.

Sanders Will Seek to Cancel All Student Debt

Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to unveil today a proposal to cancel all $1.6 trillion in student debt in the United States, The Washington Post reported. In the last election for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders made the issue of free college a major issue -- and he continues to back free public higher education. He has previously said he would propose a plan to wipe out debt, but has not given specifics. Senator Elizabeth Warren, whose campaign for president has been gaining momentum, has proposed a plan to wipe out debt -- but with some limitations. Debt cancellation has been attracting increasing attention in public discussions.


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Klobuchar Releases Plan for First 100 Days

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat seeking her party's presidential nomination, promised Tuesday to restore Obama-era higher education rules and beef up staffing at the Education Department as part of a list of policies she would pursue in her first 100 days as president.

Among the policies Klobuchar outlined:

  • Propose higher ed legislation that would provide free community college, expand the value of Pell Grants and allow student borrowers to refinance their loans at lower rates.
  • Restore staffing levels at the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights and Office of Federal Student Aid. She said diminished staffing levels under the Trump administration has slowed work pursuing Title IX investigations and work on borrower-defense claims.
  • Enforcement of gainful-employment rules that hold career education programs -- including those at for-profit colleges -- accountable for student outcomes. The majority of programs that failed GE standards were in the for-profit sector. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has halted enforcement of gainful employment and said she plans to repeal the regulations.
  • Strengthen the borrower-defense rule so defrauded student borrowers can receive loan relief. DeVos blocked enforcement of the rule and is crafting her own version of the rule that would add tougher standards for borrowers seeking loan forgiveness.
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