Elizabeth Warren promised to cancel student loan debt for up to 42 million Americans on the first day of her administration, bypassing Congress to do so administratively.
The Democratic presidential candidate said, in a plan released Tuesday, that she would direct her secretary of education to “compromise and modify” federal student loans consistent with her plan to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for 95% of student loan borrowers.
“We can’t afford to wait for Congress to act,” Warren said in the plan.
The Massachusetts senator said that the Education Department, through the Higher Education Act of 1965, already has the authority to cancel student debt.
The announcement builds upon her plan, introduced last year, to cancel a majority of the country’s outstanding student loan debt. The relief, intended for households making less than $100,000, would wipe out educational debt entirely for more than 75% of people, according to the campaign.
She has said she plans to offset the cost of canceling student debt through her wealth tax on the richest people in the country.
Warren introduced the plan a few weeks before the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. The problem of student debt is particularly significant in Iowa and New Hampshire. Sixty percent of new graduates in Iowa and 76% of those in New Hampshire have student debt, according to the Institute for College Access & Success. In total, Americans have more than $1.5 trillion in student debt.