In a plan released last week to address systemic racism in the U.S., Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Ind., mayor seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, proposed student debt cancellation for those who attended low-quality higher ed programs.
The plan said debt cancellation would begin with those who attended programs that failed the federal gainful-employment rule. The Obama administration crafted the regulation to cut off federal aid for career education programs that graduated students with excessive loan debt.
Data released by the Education Department in 2017 showed the overwhelming majority of programs that failed the standards were based at for-profit institutions. No colleges actually lost access to federal funding over the rule, however; Education Secretary Betsy DeVos blocked enforcement of gainful employment and this month officially repealed the rule.
The Buttigieg plan also calls for $25 billion in dedicated funding for historically black colleges and other minority-serving institutions. It also proposes boosting the Pell Grant program for low-income students.