March 07, 2014

Worcester Telegram and Gazette: Warren: $1.2T debt is crushing students

By Paula Owen

March 7, 2014

FITCHBURG - U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren visited Fitchburg State University Friday morning to discuss with students, faculty and state and local officials the $1.2 trillion in student loan debt that she says is crushing students and putting a strain on the economy.

FSU students listened intently in the Holmes Dining Commons as Ms. Warren talked about ways to bring down the cost of college and ease the student debt burden.

The system is caught in a "one-two punch," she said, with the costs of higher education going up and tough federal lending policies on students.

For the past 30 years, funding for higher education has been reduced, and students and their families are left to pick up the cost, she said.

"Instead of a low-cost alternative to give every kid a shot, the higher-education system is priced out of reach of families," she said.

The cost of an education at a state university nationwide, when adjusted for inflation, is 300 percent higher than it was for students 30 years ago, she said.

There are pending bills in the Senate, she said, to help reduce college costs, but legislators cannot simply reduce the costs going forward without dealing with the student loan debt.

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