Elizabeth Warren just unveiled an ambitious plan to get rid of 42 million Americans' student loan debt

elizabeth warrenElizabeth Warren on Capitol Hill in 2015.AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate, unveiled an ambitious new plan to eliminate most student loan debt and make all public colleges tuition-free.
  • The $1.25 trillion plan would impact 42 million Americans, eliminating all student debt for 75% of those who have it.
  • Warren said her plan "goes further" than Sen. Bernie Sanders' College for All Act, which would eliminate tuition at four-year public colleges for families making under $125,000.
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat and 2020 presidential candidate, unveiled an ambitious new plan on Monday to eliminate most student loan debt and make all public undergraduate colleges tuition-free.

The proposal would impact 42 million Americans with student debt, according to Warren's campaign, and is just the latest in a slew of detailed policies Warren has rolled out since she announced her presidential bid on December 31st.

Warren's policy would cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for every American whose family makes $100,000 or less, annually, and some debt for those who make between $100,000 and $250,000. Families who make over $250,000 would not be eligible for any debt cancellation.

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Warren's policy would also get rid of all undergraduate tuition and student fees at public universities, including both two and four-year colleges. And it would eliminate all student debt for 75% of Americans who have it, and get rid of at least some debt for 95% of affected Americans, according to an analysis by a group of professors from Brandeis University professor.

And the plan is designed to provide targeted assistance to students of color, including establishing a $50 billion fund for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). The proposal would also eliminate federal funding for for-profit colleges, many of which have been accused of targeting and profiting off of low-income students and students of color.

Warren said her plan "goes further" than Sen. Bernie Sanders' College for All Act, which would eliminate tuition at four-year public colleges for families making under $125,000. Warren estimates her plan would cost $1.25 trillion over 10 years - and it would be paid for by her wealth tax on Americans with more than $50 million in assets, the campaign said.

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"The enormous student debt burden weighing down our economy isn't the result of laziness or irresponsibility," Warren wrote in a Monday post introducing the plan. "It's the result of a government that has consistently put the interests of the wealthy and well-connected over the interests of working families."

Warren credits the University of Houston - where she received her undergraduate degree and paid $50 per semester in tuition - with opening the doors for her to become a special education teacher, and later a law professor.

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