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College Has Gotten 12 Times More Expensive in One Generation

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Four years of college now averages more than $160,000. That's crazy.

It wasn't always like this: The cost of undergraduate education is 12 times higher than it was 35 years ago, far outpacing inflation. While the indexed price of college tuition and fees skyrocketed by more than 1,122 percent since 1978, the cost of medical care rose less than 600 percent, and the cost of housing and food went up less than 300.

Paying that $160k off $500 per month with interest would take more than 30 years.

We need some forgiveness.

Rubio and Virginia Democrat Mark Warner debuted a bill to do just that, called the Dynamic Repayment Act. (The name is terrible. What does "dynamic" mean here?) It looks pretty solid overall. All federal loan borrowers would be enrolled in an income-based program where they paid 10 percent of their earnings each month, with a $10,000 annual exemption. Meanwhile, the government would collect the money directly from workers’ paychecks, just like tax withholding. One potentially controversial part: It would forgive up to $57,500 worth of loans after 20 years, but anything above that amount wouldn’t be forgiven for 30 years. (The current Pay as You Earn repayment program forgives all debts after two decades.) But borrowers who don’t like the income-based option could opt out and set their own payment timetable.

Again, the virtue of this bill is that it would ensure pretty much every student would face a reasonable monthly payment while eliminating the vast majority of defaults. It’s not a plan to reduce student debt. But it would make loans far safer, which needs to be the immediate priority while we solve the much harder problem of making borrowing less necessary to begin with.

Okay so why didn't the bill pass?

It's early in the process.

This process is as slow as fossilization. 

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