Bernie Sanders plans to cancel all $1.6 trillion of student debt by taxing Wall Street

Personal finance

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to the crowd during the 2019 South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention on June 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Sean Rayford | Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders will announce a plan on Monday to erase the country’s $1.6 trillion outstanding student loan tab, intensifying the higher education policy debate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

The Democratic presidential candidate’s legislation will release all 45 million Americans from their student debt and be paid for with a new tax on Wall Street transactions.

The proposal goes further than fellow Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren’s plan, which caps student debt forgiveness at $50,000 and offers no relief to borrowers who earn more than $250,000.

Outstanding education debt in the U.S. has eclipsed credit card and auto debt. The average college graduate leaves school $30,000 in the red today, up from $10,000 in the 1990s, and 28% of student loan borrowers are in delinquency or default.

Sanders’ plan would also make two- and four-year public colleges and universities tuition- and debt-free.

“This is truly a revolutionary proposal,” Sanders told The Washington Post. “In a generation hard hit by the Wall Street crash of 2008, it forgives all student debt and ends the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation to a lifetime of debt for the ‘crime’ of getting a college education.”

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