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'Betsy DeVos made a mess' of the U.S. student loan system, teachers' union boss says

·2 min read

Fixing the U.S. student loan system goes beyond just debt forgiveness, according to one teachers’ union leader, and the current administration hasn’t done much to help borrowers.

“Look, Betsy DeVos made a mess of this,” Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “We have sued DeVos several times. We sued Navient. … But ultimately, just like mortgages, and just like other things, student loan debt needs to be transparent.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos listens during a visit to Florida Virtual School in Orlando on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos listens during a visit to Florida Virtual School in Orlando on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The burden of the financial aid “needs to be clear,” Weingarten added. “People need to know what their choices are. And then we need to try to mitigate it to actually make [sure] student loan debt is not a death sentence for people.”

‘There’s a lot that you can do’

Currently, roughly 44 million Americans hold nearly $1.7 trillion in student loan debt.

Multiple lawmakers have proposed — through various bills and even on their respective campaign trails — cancelling debt for 37 million borrowers holding federal student loans. These loans are owed by Americans to the U.S. Department of Education.

(Graphic: David Foster)
(Graphic: David Foster)

Most recently, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called for President-elect Joe Biden to use executive action to cancel “billions of dollars in student loan debt,” which she argued could be the “single most effective executive action available to provide massive consumer-driver stimulus.”

Weingarten stressed the same: “There's a lot that you can do, executive action to clean this up.”

Aarthi is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. She can be reached at aarthi@yahoofinance.com. Follow her on Twitter @aarthiswami.

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