Student Loan Crackdown: Elizabeth Warren Pushes Sweeping Overhaul of College Debt System — and Even More Forgiveness

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U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who just announced that she will seek re-election in 2024 for a third term, also made headlines this week for rolling out an expansive plan to protect student loan borrowers and reduce their debt loads.

The eight-part plan was detailed in a March 26 letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. It was sent amid a period of uncertainty about the Biden administration’s loan forgiveness plan, which is under attack both legally and politically and might never see the light of day.

Warren, an outspoken advocate for progressive causes, took particular aim at for-profit colleges that don’t deliver on their educational promises to students. In her letter, the senator wrote that she supports reestablishing the Office of Enforcement within the Office of Federal Student Aid to conduct oversight of “bad actors” in the higher education industry. Schools that don’t comply would lose their accreditation and access to federal aid.

Beyond that, Warren offered her support for a Biden administration proposal that would expand loan forgiveness for lower-income students by making changes to income-driven repayment plans.

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That proposal, announced in January, would allow undergraduate borrowers to pay no more than 5% of their monthly discretionary income on undergrad loans. It also would raise the amount of income that is considered non-discretionary and is consequently protected from repayment.

“Under this proposed rule, no borrower earning under 225% of the federal poverty level would have to make a monthly payment,” Warren wrote in the letter. “When this rule is finalized and implemented, the Department should collect and publish information from institutions on their percentage of graduates who make $0 monthly payments. This information can be useful to borrowers in determining the return on investment of an educational institution.”

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Here is a rundown of the eight actions Warren said the Education Department should take:

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