A Democratic senator with student debt says his party ‘spends a little bit too much time’ on loan forgiveness without addressing the cost of a degree

  • Sen. Chris Murphy told Fox News that his party spends “a little bit too much time” on student-loan forgiveness.

  • He said he would support limited relief, but the true problem lies within the cost of a degree.

  • Some Democrats have pushed for free community college to address that issue.

A Democratic senator thinks it would be a mistake for his party to focus solely on student-loan forgiveness.

“I’m one of the few members of the Senate that still has student debt,” Sen. Chris Murphy said on Fox News Sunday. “I don’t need my debt forgiven.”

“I sometimes think that our party spends a little bit too much time talking about the debt and not enough time talking about the cost of the degree, because that’s where the real problem is,” he added. “We’re going to be in a perpetual cycle of having to forgive debt if college continues to spiral upwards to $100,000 a year.”

Murphy noted that while he would support targeted student-loan forgiveness, “it’s a mistake” if that’s the only thing implemented to address higher education costs. President Joe Biden is in the process of deciding what relief to deliver to millions of federal student-loan borrowers before payments are set to resume after August 31. He recently said a decision on relief will be made in the coming weeks, but it will not be $50,000 in forgiveness — an amount many progressives were pushing for — and it’ll be targeted to borrowers making under $125,000 a year.

When it comes to tuition, Murphy is correct — it’s continuing to dream. Over the past 20 years, average tuition at private institutions have increased 144%, out-of-state tuition at public schools has increased 171%, and in-state tuition has emerged 211%.

Many Democrats that support broad student-loan forgiveness have recognized the issues with rising tuition and have expressed support for tuition-free community college to prevent surging debt to continue to spiral. Michigan Rep. Andy Levin, the original House sponsor of free community college legislation, told Insider last year that without free community college, the student debt crisis will “absolutely be exacerbated.”

And John King, former President Barack Obama’s education secretary, told Insider in March that the lack of free community college is a policy failure Biden can fix, and he also noted how the Pell Grant, which is a grant for students that accounted for about 80 % of the cost of college in the 1980s, now covers less than a third due to soaring tuition.

“This is really a moment to correct a policy mistake of the last 40 years in terms of federal and state disinvestment, particularly from public higher education,” King said.

Biden promised last year that he will pass free community college during his term, but for now, student-loan borrowers are waiting to hear if they’ll be getting a cut to their balances this summer.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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