WASHINGTON — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said that Congress should pass free public college tuition at the same time as student loan forgiveness as a way to tackle student loan debt for future students.
Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, has signed onto a bill that would forgive about $1.6 trillion of exiting student loan debt. Ocasio-Cortez was asked how lawmakers should address students who recently paid off their student loan debt.
“I think it’s kind of this hazing mentality, like, because I was hazed now everyone else needs to be hazed in the future. As someone who has paid off thousands of dollars for student loans, I don’t think that repeating the same mistake and perpetuating it for the next generation is fair,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a recent interview on Capitol Hill.
“Our generation has been screwed over in a lot of ways, many ways, and student loans is one of them. I think student loan forgiveness is one basic way we can do that. But you know, I think for a lot of folks who have paid off their loans, I’m sure that and I would hope that they would think about their kids and the next generation to come,” she added.
Ocasio-Cortez was also asked if she thinks a federal student loan forgiveness program would take away the incentive for colleges to lower tuition costs in the future.
“Well, that’s why I think that our legislative solution should be paired. So I actually believe that student loan forgiveness should be passed in the same fell swoop as tuition-free public colleges and universities because if you don’t pass tuition-free public college, then you do recreate the problem. Then it’s just kind of a one-swoop forgiveness but then the costs continue to mount for people, so that’s why tuition-free public colleges and universities are really important to pass at the same time as student loan forgiveness,” she said.
Follow Nicholas Ballasy on Twitter @NicholasBallasy