STATEMENT: Generation Progress Action’s Maggie Thompson on Secretary Clinton’s Debt-Free Future Proposal

Washington, D.C.—Today, Secretary Hillary Clinton announced a sweeping plan to address the soaring cost of higher education and the crippling loan debts that those costs induce. Under Secretary Clinton’s proposal, families who make under $125,000 per year will be eligible for tuition-free higher education, while collection on federal student loans would be halted for three months to allow borrowers to restructure or receive counseling on their repayment options.

As seen in similar efforts, like America’s College Promise, a broader movement to make higher education a public good through tuition-free education will level the playing field for all, and not impose an unfair burden on lower-income Americans. Generation Progress Action supports these proposals that will boost the efforts we have led for the past several years to help thousands of student loan borrowers navigate their repayment options, reform student loan servicing, and lessen the burden of debt.

Maggie Thompson, Executive Director of Generation Progress Action, issued the following statement in response:

“Secretary Clinton’s bold plan will remove barriers that keep college out of reach for too many young people, and will combat the crushing burden of student loan debt for millions of borrowers. This plan would make college accessible and affordable to the vast majority of Americans without the burden of debt or financial hardship. Today the cost of college has made higher education a commodity for the privileged, rather than a public good for all. Making college tuition-free for the majority of American families is a step toward ensuring that everyone in this country gets a fair shot at a higher education.

This plan will also combat the crushing burden of student debt by hitting the pause button on student loan repayment for a crucial three-month period. Today, student loan servicers too often act more like loan sharks than loan counselors, forcing organizations like ours to fill the information gap.  Many borrowers would benefit from income-driven repayment or loan forgiveness plans, but don’t know that these options exist. This reprieve will force servicers to do their jobs and guide borrowers through the maze of student loan repayment options. Borrowers deserve repayment options that work best for their own circumstances, not the servicer’s.

We are thrilled to see a candidate issue a full-throated defense of America’s higher education promise, and America’s students.”

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Kyle Epstein at kepstein@americanprogressaction.org or 202.481.8137

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