Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) has unveiled the largest student loan plan of any Democratic presidential candidate, aiming to wipe out over $1.5 trillion in loans.

The plan goes further than that of his most similar opponent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), who only promises to erase $50,000 of debt for those who have a household income of less than $100,000. Sanders’ plan is estimated to help 46 million people who are bearing the weight of a recent increase in college tuition.

“In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, it is simply not acceptable for our younger generation through no fault of their own have a lower standard of living than their parents, more debt, lower wages, and less likelihood of owning their own homes,” Sanders said at a news conference detailing what he calls the College For All Act.

The plan would save most borrowers $3,000 a year. The program would be funded by revenue from Sanders’ proposed Wall Street tax which aims to raise $2.4 trillion over the course of 10 years. Using taxes as a form of wealth redistribution is a common idea among the Democratic candidates, with Warren’s proposed student-loan plan also being funded by a tax on “ultra-millionaires.”


Student debt has become a key issue recently as college tuition has risen to unprecedented heights, putting financial strain on many low-income students. The federal government and the Department of Education have remained quiet on the issue so far, forcing individual states and presidential hopefuls to take matters into their own hands. Some states have passed a student loan “Bill of Rights” that appoints officials to oversee student loan practices to ensure that abusive borrowing doesn’t occur. Presidential candidates have also taken on the mantle as the enemy of student loans, with several contenders announcing sweeping loan forgiveness programs, such as Warren and Sanders.

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