A message from Hank Gilbert:
Recently, Democrats in Congress have called for myriad of student loan and Pell Grant reforms. While I cheer those reforms, I believe we must go further.
Since I began this campaign, one of the key issues of my platform has been my plan to reduce or eliminate student loan debt for most undergraduate students in America. When I’m in Congress, I’ll introduce legislation to help make that plan a reality.
America cannot grow the next generation of innovators if they are overburdened by student loan debt,
Young people today are forced to take multiple jobs to make ends meet after graduating just to cover their student loan debt.
We cannot turn out the next Bill Gates, Katherine Johnson, or Jonas Salk if some of the brilliant minds of the next generation shy away from advanced degrees and institutions of higher learning because they are fearful of being overburdened by student debt for much of their adult lives.
It is time for truly progressive thinking when it comes to student debt reform. I hope you will take a moment to read my plan.
Candidate for Congress, TX CD 1
Reducing and Eliminating Student Debt
When elected to Congress, Hank plans to introduce the Young Professionals Economic Empowerment Act, which will include both massive student loan reform for existing student loans, and a complete restructuring of how undergraduate and trade school student loan debt is handled in the United States–including making the first two years of a student’s four-year education, or the entirety of a junior college or trade school education, free of charge to students.
The Young Professionals Economic Empowerment Act, or
The Student Loan and Student Debt Reform Act of 2020
PURPOSE: To eliminate, going forward, as much undergraduate student debt in the United States as possible, while positioning college graduates to be more financially stable in their earliest years after graduation, thus resulting in more dollars flowing directly in to the economy.
First Two Years/Trade School: No Cost
The first two years of a student’s undergraduate education at any public college, university, community college, junior college, or trade school, will be at no charge to the student for tuition or other fees, excluding food and housing, paid for by the federal government under guidelines to be determined by the U.S. Department of Education.
Government Service Zero Interest Loan Program
Students who wish to continue their education may pay for the next two or three years of an undergraduate education with a zero-percent interest federal student loan that will not come due until three years following a student’s completion of their undergraduate degree–if the student agrees to spend one year working (for pay) in government service or for a qualifying non-profit organization or NGO as determined by the U.S. Department of Education under guidelines to be adopted.
Federal, zero-interest loans will have flexible, adjustable repayment periods that can be adjusted no more than annually during the life of the loan–from 10 to 15, to 30 years.
Grads may qualify for three-month, six-month and one-year deferments for a variety of conditions during their repayment period, including:
*Birth or adoption of a child
*Taking care of an aging parent/guardian/other dependent
*Starting a qualifying small business
*Returning to school
*Debtor’s child’s first year of college
*Victim of a natural disaster such as a hurricane, fire, flood, tornado, drought, etc.
*Opening, operating, taking over, or assisting, full-time, in the operation of a family farm or agricultural operation as defined by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Agriculture under guidelines to be defined.
*Up to five years deferment for government (including teaching) or non-profit sector employment with a qualifying government position or qualifying non profit in an area (city, county) where in excess of the 60 percent of the population is living at at least 200 percent or under of the federal poverty level.
*Purchase of primary residence home or farmstead.
*Complete loan deferment after ten years of work for a qualifying government agency (including schools) and qualifying non-profits in areas where in excess of 60 percent of the population is living at at least 200 percent or under of the federal poverty level. Credits for ten years may be accrued through work at multiple agencies over the ten year period.
Existing Federal Student Loans At Zero Percent as we work toward complete forgiveness of debt
All existing federal student loans will cease to assume interest at current rates, late payment, or other penalties or collection fees after Sept. 1, 2021. Any interest on outstanding loans that is unpaid will be rolled back. Any paid interest over the last ten years will be credited to the balance of the loan. All existing loans are able to be converted to longer payment plans, including 30-year repayment plans, and zero interest on any remaining unpaid principal.
This will be a stop-gap measure as we work to fund solutions to completely eliminating America’s student debt burden for the majority of folks who have outstanding federal student loans.
Investigate Private Student Debt Buyback
The legislation will create a special commission to investigate the cost of and possibility of buyback of student debt by the federal government from private lenders to determine the feasibility of such a buyback. After said buyback, the interest on all remaining outstanding principal due of the borrower would become equal to the current interest rate on a 30-year U.S. Treasury Bond, and the loans would be eligible for extended repayment plans.