Pete Buttigieg

Democratic contenders push moderate debt relief plans in response to Warren, Sanders

The student debt relief plans from Democratic presidential contenders Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg offer targeted loan forgiveness, drawing contrast with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

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.

Buttigieg's $500 Billion Free Tuition Plan

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, last week released a $500 billion plan to make college more affordable for working- and middle-class families.

The proposal would make public colleges tuition-free for the 80 percent of students who have annual family incomes of $100,000 or less. The next 10 percent of students, from families earning $100,000 to $150,000 per year, would receive public college tuition subsidies on a sliding scale, under the plan.

"To keep tuition costs in check, in exchange for receiving federal dollars states will guarantee to invest in their public higher education systems and constrain tuition increases," the plan said.

Buttigieg also proposed to increase the award amounts for federal Pell Grants, to help cover nontuition costs such as housing and transportation. The plan also would increase funding for historically black colleges and universities by $50 billion. Buttigieg said he would soon release details to address student debt burdens.

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Buttigieg Calls Out For-Profit Colleges in Debate

Pete Buttigieg said during the Democratic presidential primary debate Tuesday that any debt forgiveness program should start with students of for-profit colleges, which he said took advantage of veterans.

"The moment I deployed, my Facebook feed started filling up with ads from these for-profit colleges," said Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan as a U.S. Navy reservist in 2014.

Buttigieg, who is mayor of South Bend, Ind., also criticized the Trump administration's efforts to roll back Obama-era regulations targeting the for-profit sector. In a plan released earlier this month, he called for canceling the student debt of borrowers who attended programs that failed the gainful-employment rule. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos officially repealed the rule this month.

"On my watch, those colleges that turned the Department of Education into a predatory lender -- that’s where we'd start getting rid of loans," he said during the debate.

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For-profit college

Buttigieg Backs Debt-Free College

South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg called Thursday for free tuition at public colleges for students from middle-income families and debt-free college for low-income students in a higher ed platform posted to his website.

Buttigieg, who is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said he would back a federal-state partnership to make public colleges affordable. He also called for more dedicated support -- without offering details -- for historically black colleges and minority-serving institutions.

And he said he would "confront" student loan debt and apply "strict standards" to for-profit colleges, among other higher ed policies.

Buttigieg drew headlines in April for his refusal to back free college in an appearance at Northeastern University. He said instead that the federal government should expand the size of Pell Grants and encourage states to spend more on higher ed.

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Chasten Buttigieg Was Once a Homeless Student

A former homeless community college student could find his next residence in the White House if voters elect South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg in 2020.

Buttigieg's husband, Chasten Glezman Buttigieg, told The Washington Post that shortly after coming out as gay to his parents, he packed his bags and left home. Chasten Buttigieg "brought his bags to a friend's apartment, then bounced around on people's couches, trying not to wear out his welcome. Sometimes he slept in his car at the far edge of the parking lot of the community college where he was taking classes."

The Post doesn't name the community college Buttigieg attended, but he graduated from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire with a degree in theater and global studies. Before joining Pete Buttigieg on the campaign trail, Chasten taught drama at a Montessori school.

If the Buttigiegs find themselves leading the Democratic Party, Chasten would have familiarity with a significant number of college students who are homeless or housing insecure.

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Pete Buttigieg, Democratic candidate, bucks progressives on free college

After debate over free college defined 2016 Democratic primary campaign, South Bend, Ind., mayor is the second Democratic presidential candidate to take a stand against the idea.

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