For far too many families today, the cost of higher education has meant daunting debt and endless loan repayments. People of color are disproportionately harmed, with lower graduation rates (often dropping out as a result of financial pressures) but higher student loan debt and default rates. We need to empower more people to get the postsecondary education that will help them achieve their dreams and earn a living without a decades-long debt burden. Students need to be able to borrow for their education at fair rates and have opportunities to qualify for student loan debt forgiveness.
House Democrats passed a funding bill for the Department of Education that increases student aid, including increases for Pell Grants, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, and Federal Work Study. The bill also includes funding boosts for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities.
Whip Clyburn is proud to be working on a bill along with Senator Warren that tackles the existing debt burden. Under our bill, people with an income of under $100,000 could have up to $50,000 in student loan cancellation. Those with higher incomes could still see debt cancellation, based on a sliding scale. With this, 95% of student loan borrowers would get some relief, and 75% would have all their debt cancelled. Additionally, our bill would allow borrowers to refinance remaining loans to a lower interest rate and provide an opportunity for borrowers to discharge their debt in bankruptcy. Currently, student loan debt is the only debt you cannot discharge in bankruptcy. This will be a huge victory for our students, and a large weight off their shoulders.
Members of the House Democratic Caucus have introduced numerous other bills designed to address the growing student loan debt crisis. These proposals include debt-free in-state higher education, better student loan refinancing options, broadening loan forgiveness eligibility and more. House Democrats are committed to providing substantial student debt relief.