Warren denounces government profit on student loans

In the list of heaviest burdens for college students and graduates, paying back student loans is at the top as young Americans leave higher education with a degree and tens of thousands of dollars in debt. In a multi-day conference at Suffolk University’s Law School, Senator Elizabeth Warren discussed the factors that take part in the billions of dollars that student debt accounts for in the U.S. and proposed solutions to stop government profits on these loans and protect borrowers from sinking under the burden alone.

“You could take down a list of protections available to mortgage borrowers,” Warren said, “none of them are available for student loan borrowers. Congress has stripped away bankruptcy protection from both federal and private student loans. Borrowers cannot discharge debt unless under the most extreme of circumstances,” Warren said.

For those struggling with student loan repayments, there are no options that will grant any form of “relief” from their debt, leaving them to face years of the federal government demanding unrealistic payments in their conditions.

“The outstanding student loan debt right now is $1.2 trillion,” Warren said Friday. “The average debt for those who get a bachelor’s degree is $29,000.” Graduate school borrowers see even higher numbers.

(Photo courtesy of Suffolk University)

“This is crushing our young people. More than a third of borrowers under the age of 30 have been delinquent for more than 90 days,” the Senator said.

Warren explained that this has impacted our economy in that young Americans and recent college graduates are not buying homes or taking part in activities expected by the government to stimulate the economy.

“Tying students to a lifetime financial servitude as a condition of getting an education does not reflect our values,” Warren said. “These students didn’t go to the mall and make a bunch of charges on credit cards. They worked hard to earn skills that would benefit this country, to help build a stronger middle class, and a stronger America.”

Reports by the U.S. Government Accountability Office shared that in loans borrowed from 2007 to 2012, the government will make at least $66 billion in profit. Warren said that a department of education official “confirmed that when the government generates profit from student loans, those profits don’t get funneled into other student aid.”

Warren said that the most efficient way to reverse the damage of student debt is to lower the cost of education.

“To reverse the trend of student borrowing we need to lower the cost of college. That’s where it all starts. We should start by restoring the traditional role of public higher education as a high quality, affordable option for all families.”

Warren has called for a complete stop to profiting from student loans. Along with that, she is pushing for “bankruptcy protection to be reinstated,” and for a shared responsibility between the college and the student when struggling to pay back the loans.

“When students default, they feel the pain, and so do the taxpayers who may ultimately have to pick up the bill. Colleges should feel some of that pain, too, and it should affect the colleges who are taking on a lot of students who are not repaying their debts.”

Her final proposal was for the government to bring the funds back into the “pockets of the borrowers” and not for general government funding as it is currently.

“The idea that we would allow the federal student loan program to generate funds for the government is obscene. These students deserve our support. Not an extra tax when they’re trying to get an education.”