Several top congressional Democrats will embrace on Tuesday a loose plan to make public colleges a debt-free proposition—and will receive an immediate boost from progressive activists who are hoping to shape the 2016 Democratic agenda.
In the House and Senate, legislators will simultaneously introduce two resolutions calling for “all students [to] have access to debt-free higher education.” In the Senate, Brian Schatz, Chuck Schumer, and Elizabeth Warren will attach their names to the resolution. Representatives Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva, co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, are leading the House effort along with several members, including Representatives Chris Van Hollen, Steve Israel, Donna Edwards, Katherine Clark, and Alan Grayson.
The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is helping to organize the push, and released a short paper along with the think tank Demos about how to make public higher education achievable without debt. It briefly outlines how increased federal aid to states for higher education, along with expanded Pell Grants that would be permitted to cover non-tuition costs, and increased regulation might eliminate the debt burden at public institutions.