On Sunday, freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) praised Morehouse College commencement speaker Robert F. Smith for committing to pay off all the loans of the college’s 2019 graduating class, but she used the move to further her argument that “college should be affordable” in the first place.
It’s safe to say that Ocasio-Cortez, who is the youngest congresswoman ever at 29 years old, knows what it feels like to bear the brunt of modern higher education bills more than a vast majority of her colleagues in Congress, and it’s an issue that she’s been very outspoken about since her election.
After noting that “every Morehouse Class of 2019 student is getting their student debt loans paid off by their commencement speaker,” Ocasio-Cortez recollected her own college experience as an economics major at Boston University.
“This could be the start of what’s known in Econ as a ‘natural experiment,'” she said of the event.
“Follow these students & compare their life choices [with] their peers over the next 10-15 years,” the congresswoman added, implying that loan forgiveness will help the graduating class become more successful.
It’s important to note that people shouldn’t be in a situation where they depend on a stranger’s enormous act of charity for this kind of liberation to begin with (aka college should be affordable), but it is an incredible act of community investment in this system as it is. ?
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 19, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez then praised the “incredible act of community investment” that the commencement speaker made but emphasized that people shouldn’t have to “depend on a stranger” in order to be able to afford the rising prices of college tuition.
“It’s important to note that people shouldn’t be in a situation where they depend on a stranger’s enormous act of charity for this kind of liberation to begin with (aka college should be affordable),” the congresswoman proclaimed on Twitter, “but it is an incredible act of community investment in this system as it is.”
The prices of college are at a staggering all-time high, which has caught the attention of multiple 2020 presidential candidates, including both of AOC’s top picks — Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Sanders has been a staunch advocate for tuition-free college and erasing student loans since his 2016 campaign. Warren has also responded to the issue by releasing a policy proposal, which would allow “the cancellation of up to $50,000 in student loan debt for 42 million Americans.”