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Democrats in Washington Are Pushing for "Debt-Free" Higher Education

On Tuesday, Democrats in the Senate and House introduced twin resolutions "to ensure that students have access to debt-free higher education." 

The measures call for the federal government to support states in making greater investment in colleges and expanding financial aid measures so that students can eventually expect to have "no debt upon graduation from all public institutions of higher education."


It's good policy: By bringing public attention to badly overdue policy reforms, these measures directly address the decades-long problem of declining federal government support to students and states.

As an example, take a look at this chart from a report by the think tank Demos and advocacy group Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which shows how Pell Grants — federal aid for low-income students that doesn't have to be paid back — have failed to keep up with skyrocketing college tuition rates for over thirty years. The smaller those bars have shrunk, the more students have had to rely on a combination of public and private loans.