House Democrats Introduce Plan to Get Students Out of Debt

Democrats in the House of Representatives yesterday announced new higher education legislation that would allow college students to earn a degree without going into debt.

The Democratic proposal, called the Aim Higher Act would create a partnership between the states and the federal government. The states would provide students with two tuition-free years at a community college in the state, which are typically low-cost government-operated institutions. The states would have to promise to spend more of their budgets on higher education in exchange for federal government funds.

“The Aim Higher Act is a serious and comprehensive proposal to give every student the opportunity to earn a debt-free degree or credential,” Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) said of the proposed Democratic bill in a statement to the Post“

As expected, many Democratic House members issued public statements enthusiastically supporting the new bill.

“We want a world where parents do not have to choose between college or their kids or paying the rent,” said Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., at a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday. “Where borrowers do not have a lifetime of debt because of a college degree where race gender and socioeconomic status do not determine professional success.”

“This is a common sense, comprehensive bill that works for the young people of this country,” said Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island “It increases investments in financial aid and make the majority of Pell grant funding mandatory and creates new incentives that will offer states to offer two-years of tuition-free community college – as we’ve already done in my state of Rhode Island.”

This type of legislation is much needed, since in 2017 students and former students owed more than $1.3 trillion in student loans according to a Pew Research Center report. Democrats say the new proposal will lower existing student loan costs as well as provide future students with a debt-free college education.

The bill also has the support of the Democrat in the House, Nancy Pelosi.

“This strong legislation will invest boldly in America’s students and family now and into the future,” said Pelosi, the House Minority Leader. “We will continue to press for progress to ensure debt-free, quality and meaningful college education that is within reach for every student. Democrats will continue to fight for all Americans on the road to success.”

Last year Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren introduced similar legislation in the Senate that would provide students free college education.  Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton discussed either free college or debt-free college plans during their presidential campaigns in 2016.