Administration Seeks to Ease Debt Burden on College Students

WASHINGTON–(ENEWSPF)–Mar. 1 – In response to historic student debt levels and high unemployment rates among young people, Vice President Joe Biden’s Task Force on the Middle Class unveiled a new report on Feb. 26 that recommends increasing college grant aid, making loan debt more manageable and investing in community colleges.

Rich Williams, U.S. PIRG’s Higher Education, present at the report launch, applauded the Task Force for its focus on students and student debt.

“We applaud Vice President Biden’s vision for easing college debt burden as a key to strengthening America’s middle class.

“In the face of increasing student debt, the Task Force on the Middle Class has proposed reforming the federal financial aid system to invest more money into grant aid, which means money students never have to pay back. The average college graduate now must borrow over $23,000 in debt to obtain their degree. This debt has lasting negative consequences. By reforming the financial aid system through ending wasteful and unwarranted bank subsidies, need-based financial aid through the Pell grant program will increase by over $40 billion.

“The Task Force also proposed making college debt more manageable by improving the Income Based Repayment program for federal student loan borrowers. Changes would allow borrowers with high debt and low income, such as those in public service professions, to cap their monthly loan payments to 10% of their income, down from 15%. In addition, borrowers enrolled in the program can see their loans forgiven after 20 years, down from 25 years. These changes will enable over 1 million student loan borrowers to get immediate payment relief.

“The Task Force report recommends making robust investments into America’s community colleges. These institutions have been under-funded and under-appreciated for years. As the economy recovers, the funding will support the additional 5 million community college students that are necessary to ensure America has a robust workforce.”