- At an INSIDER town hall, Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang came out in support of forgiving most student loan debt, but said he does not support making college free.
- Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren have rolled out plans to make four-year college free, and in Warren’s case, forgiving the nearly $US1.6 billion in outstanding student debt in America.
- Yang’s campaign is driven by a passion for helping American workers adjust to an increasingly automated economy.
- Watch the full INSIDER town hall event here.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
NEW YORK – Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang came out in support of forgiving most student loan debt on Tuesday at an INSIDER town hall.
He also argued that his universal basic income program would better solve income inequality than offering tuition-free college.
In recent weeks, fellow Democratic presidential candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have rolled out plans to make four-year college free, and in Warren’s case, forgiving the nearly $US1.6 trillion in outstanding student debt.
Yang said he supported a plan like Warren’s to forgive most student loan debt, saying “if you have a choice between hundreds of thousands of young people living in their parents’ basements or investing that money back into the economy, we should choose the latter.”
Yang said he himself was saddled with student debt in his 20s and acknowledged that the student debt crisis is a serious problem burdening the American economy.
Yet, that’s where the similarities to other candidates end. Yang wants to give every American adult $US1,000 a month as part of his signature Freedom Dividend policy, and he sees this as a better solution than free public college.
In response to a question, he explained that universal college would only end up relieving a financial burden for a small subset of the American population – whereas the Freedom Dividend would benefit people from all educational and financial backgrounds.
“Since only about a third of Americans graduate from a four-year college, making college free would help that top of the third of the population,” Yang said, further pointing that the current six-year completion rate for those who enter four-year college is just 59%.
“We have a lot of people heading to college that it isn’t a great fit for college, so making it free would only be helpful for a certain population, which is why we have to invest in vocational and technical training,” Yang added.
Yang’s detailed policy platform advocates for expanding technical education, making two-year community college education free or extremely low-cost, and implementing a number of measures to incentivise four-year colleges to reduce their tuition costs.
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