Democratic proposals for student loan forgiveness have so far come in two sizes: Big and bigger.
President Joe Biden campaigned on a plan to provide $10,000 of federal student loan forgiveness per borrower (though he ultimately left the idea out of his proposed budget). Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat, has called for blanket forgiveness of up to $50,000 in federal loans per student, while Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has proposed the cancellation of all student debt, at an eye-popping cost of $1.6 trillion.
But as an innovative effort by a group of Detroit-area colleges is proving, even modest student-debt relief can have a big impact, especially if it’s coupled with a second shot at college completion for those who have discontinued their studies. Programs like Wayne State University’s Warrior Way Back and Eastern Michigan University’s Eagle Engage Corps are offering former students a combination of loan forgiveness with a chance to finish their degrees. It’s a smart – and purposeful – approach to student-debt relief that could benefit hundreds of thousands of students nationwide. Most importantly, it won’t cost trillions, and schools don’t need to wait for Congress to act.
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