'Education is a human right': Bernie Sanders plans to cancel US$1.6 trillion of student debt

The proposal would free around 45 million student loan borrower from their debt.
The proposal would free around 45 million student loan borrower from their debt. Photo credit: Getty

2020 US presidential candidate and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has announced his plan to cancel all US$1.6 trillion of student loan debt in the nation.

The Democrat offered his legislation on Monday, co-sponsored by Democratic congresswomen Pramila Jayapal and Ilhan Omar. The proposal would be available to all 45 million student loan borrowers of both federal and private loans with no eligibility criteria, Washington Post reports. 

Sanders also advocates for making US public and community colleges tuition-and-fee free, as well as lowering federal student loan interest rates - following on from proposals made during his 2016 presidential run.

The student loan debt forgiveness scheme is estimated to cost US$2.2 trillion over the next decade. The Sanders campaign says this would be funded through a new tax plan, including a fee on stock, bond and derivatives trades.

At a press conference on Monday morning (local time), Sanders announced that the proposal "will be fully paid for by a tax on Wall Street speculation," Time reports.

Sanders told reporters that he and his team "will make a full and complete education a human right".

Fellow 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren announced a plan in April that would cancel up to US$50,000 (NZ$75,233) of student loan debt for people earning less than US$100,000 (NZ$150,466) annually.


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