Warren Vows To Cancel College Debt Without Awaiting Congress

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a campaign event, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Marshalltown, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren says she’d order her secretary of education to cancel up to $50,000 in college debt for about 95% of student borrowers on her first day in office, effectively erasing outstanding loans for about 42 million Americans.

The Democratic senator from Massachusetts vowed in a proposal released Tuesday to act immediately and not wait for Congress because the secretary of education already has broad authority to compromise on and modify student loans.

Warren had already promised in previous plans to wipe out student loans for 42 million Americans while offering free tuition at public universities. She’s proposed a wealth tax on fortunes worth $50 million or more to pay for doing so, saying that will raise $2.75 trillion over 10 years.

But those proposals would require congressional approval. Hours before a presidential debate in Iowa, which holds its lead-off caucuses on Feb. 3, Warren said she’d move unilaterally to cancel debt first, then work with Capitol Hill to ensure programs to pay for it become law.

“We’re facing a student debt crisis, and every day counts for families struggling with this burden and for our economy as a whole,” Warren wrote in an online post unveiling her plan.

The senator also wants to reduce backlogs so that qualifying borrowers are able to cancel loans through debt forgiveness plans that are already available. She said that could help an additional nearly 1.75 million borrowers.

And Warren promised that on her first day in office, she’d empower the secretary of education to limit the for-profit college industry and crack down on “predatory” student lending. Noting that black students default on college loans at more than twice the rate of their white counterparts, the senator said she’d order the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights to investigate the core causes of and help rectify racial disparities in student borrowing.

In announcing Tuesday’s plan, Warren’s campaign released a letter from three experts at the Legal Services Center at Harvard Law School, where Warren was a professor. They examined the authority granted by statute to the secretary of education and found what Warren was proposing to be “a lawful and permissible use of the authority Congress has conferred” on the department.



  1. That would violate the constitutional principle that all government expenditures need to be approved by the Congress. The last chief executive to do this, though many including Trump of tried, was Charles I (he was king of what is now New England and the more southern colonies, New York was still Dutch).

  2. This Warren is not stupid. She is a threat. I pray that her staying off the campaign trail while the Senate does its thing on impeachment is enough to ruin her chances to get close to nomination. And I hope the rift between her and Sanders grows to a proportion enough to make her distasteful enough to whoever gets anywhere close to power in 2020 to be kept away from the Executive Branch.

  3. Aside from being a bribe for votes, this simply encourages more waste. How many who take out these loans are really informed as to the REAL potential earning power they should realistically expect from the degree they are chasing? The thing (government involvement student loans) was invented to help science students when science was needed to keep up with the competition. Just what are these things MAINLY used for today? Doctors? Engineers? Or perhaps “women’s studies” (under whatever name) – as we see what AOC’s alleged courses taught her.