President Joe Biden announced a one-time student loan forgiveness of $10,000 to $20,000 depending on your income. But where do we go from here? Borrowers will still have loans to pay off, and every year, another class of students will graduate with a fresh balance.
Here are three proposals for permanent changes to America’s college and student loan system.
1) Expand publicly funded education
President Biden, and other progressives, believe 12 years of universal education is not enough. They want to expand to universal pre-k for 3- and 4-year-olds and provide free community college.
“It’s about opportunity. It’s about giving people a fair shot. It’s about the one word America can be defined by: possibilities,” Biden said.
2) Permanently fix student loans
Interest causes some of the biggest headaches with the current loan system. Income-based repayment plans can result in a monthly payment lower than the accrued interest, so borrowers can pay for years and their balance will stay the same or even increase.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., proposed the Loan Act to fix that. It would eliminate student loan interest and replace it with a one-time financing fee. It would also automatically put all borrowers on an income-based repayment plan.
“Working-class Americans should be able to pursue an education without having to worry about finding themselves trapped in an insurmountable debt cycle for years beyond graduation,” Rubio said in a statement.
3) Expand Pell Grants
These aren’t loans, they’re grants, so they often don’t need to be repaid. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., proposed a bill to double the maximum Pell Grant to $13,000 and increase eligibility.
“All Nevadans deserve a chance to pursue higher education, and with a responsible and commonsense approach that provides immediate relief to struggling borrowers, increases Pell Grants, and reforms the system for future borrowers, we can once again make college affordable for all Nevadans,” Cortez Masto said in a statement.