Open universal public college, community college and trade school to all, and cancel all student loan debt.
Julie was a single mom when she began college, and higher education opened opportunities for her that she knows are not typically afforded to the poor in this country.
Like many working class and poor Americans, Julie was only able to afford college because she was able to rely on Pell grants and the earned income tax credit. And she believes that every student in this country deserves the same opportunity that she had.
But resources for public education have been in decline for decades, and as federal support for low-income students has failed to keep pace with the rising costs for everything from food to housing to healthcare, the value of aid has diminished, requiring students to turn increasingly to loans in higher amounts.
The Great Recession hit this country hard, and while Congress bailed Wall Street for gambling with America’s future to the tune of trillions of dollars in aid, states were slashing their higher education budgets. And for the most part, that funding has never been recovered.
Today, college students, graduate students, and their families are trapped in a vicious cycle of crushing debt. Nearly half of all students who enrolled in college do not complete their degree, and must still pay down thousands of dollars in debt. Texas students, on average, borrow $25,794, while their starting salaries only average $34,132. That equates to a debt-to-income ratio of 74%. When parents' loans were factored in, that ratio jumped to 92%.
And Black students in Texas had debt-to-income ratios of 117%, compared with 68% for white students and 71% for Latino students.
For many Americans, especially those that live in rural communities, a traditional college degree doesn’t represent the best path forward to the best opportunities in their lives , which is why Julie believes we have to include debt-free trade school, technical degrees, trade certificates in any solution to the student debt crisis.
The enormous amounts of student loan debt crushing families in this country are not just a drag on our economy, nor are they only preventing students from completing their degrees -- the student loan debt crisis is responsible for exacerbating the racial wealth gap in America, by disproportionately affecting Black and Latino families who carry more student loan debt, higher balances, higher interest rates, and are more heavily targeted by the predatory lending industry.
The situation is unacceptable and demands bold action.
We know that investing in education yields enormous benefits for this country’s security and prosperity. Higher education is at the center of achieving a just and equitable society -- and instead of tax cuts for multinational corporations and the very rich, which offload the costs of education and healthcare onto everyone else, Congress’ priorities must return to investing in our own people.
It is time for our country to treat world-class public higher education, including trade school, as a fundamental right -- so that we can achieve the best-educated workforce in the world, and ensure that all of this country’s future leaders have the same opportunity to succeed that Julie had as a single mom from a poor family in South Dallas and later rural Ovilla.
You can count on Julie to fight for universal public college and trade school more than any other candidate, because she knows the struggles that low-income and working families face, and she knows first-hand how transformative the value of an education can be in lifting Americans out of poverty and giving them a chance to succeed.
And in Congress, you will never have to worry if Julie is susceptible to pressure behind closed doors, whether it’s from banks, the predatory lending industry, or any entity that benefits from exacerbating the student loan debt crisis because she doesn’t accept money from special interests. In fact, Julie doesn't take a single dime from any PAC.
Today, it is nearly impossible for students to find the same kind of opportunity that Julie had. And with $1.5 trillion student loan debt crisis in this country — $85 billion of which is carried by students and families in Texas alone — we need bold, transformative solutions so that everyone has the same opportunity to succeed.
In Congress, Julie is committed to:
- 1. Eliminating all existing student loan debt in this country, which would help millions of families and massively stimulate our economy.
- 2. Passing the College for All Act of 2019 (H.R. 3472), which would eliminate tuition and fees at four-year public colleges, trade school and universities and make community college tuition- and fee-free for all.
- 3. Expanding Pell grants to cover the non-tuition and fee costs of school, like books, supplies, transportation, and housing.
- 4. Passing the Protecting Student Aid Act of 2019 (H.R. 4497), which would crack down on predatory lenders and the predatory for-profit college industry, which disproportionately targets military families and communities of color, and which leave students with crushing levels of debt and low-quality degrees.
- 5. Addressing the persistent racial disparities in higher education and combatting the racial wealth gap by investing in HBCU’s, and incentivizing state investment in addressing racial disparities in our education system by providing additional federal funding to states that can demonstrate higher enrollment and graduation rates for lower-income students and students of color.
- 6. Curbing aggressive and predatory recruitment of veterans and military servicemembers as students by for-profit schools that target veterans because they have access to federal aid funding outside of the Dept. of Education aid system.
- 7. Investing in America’s children, teachers and schools to correct systemic inequities in our public education system so that every student gets the help they need to be ready for college and to get the support they need when they are in college.
- 8. Re-authorizing the CFPB to resume its rightful role in full and robust supervisory oversight of the private sector companies that manage $1.2 trillion in federal student loans on behalf of 42 million people.