Sanders Senior Policy Adviser Advocates College Debt Forgiveness, Has 180K Debt

Sanders has unveiled a proposal to create free public colleges

US Senator Bernie Sanders / Getty Images

A senior policy adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) is advocating college debt forgiveness while also holding $180,000 in debt.

"I am $180k in debt. I have a PHD and am a tenured professor — my students are in the same boat, sinking in debt. I pay $1100/month in student loan debt, half of my rent. We MUST . Wall St got bailed out, what about us?! ," Heather Gautney tweeted.

Gautney refers to herself as a "senior policy advisor" to Sanders on her Twitter bio. According to the bio on her publisher's website, she is an associate professor of sociology at Fordham University, "was a senior policy advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders in the US Senate Budget Committee," and currently "is the Executive Director of Our Revolution," a progressive organization which developed out Sanders's 2016 campaign. Her faculty page on Fordham University's website says she "is on leave working as a senior policy advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders, the ranking member of the US Senate Budget Committee."

Earlier this week, Sanders unveiled a proposal to create free public colleges, and void or repay $1.6 trillion in outstanding student debt, about 80 percent of which is held by the federal government. Whereas Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D., Mass.) plan to forgive student debt is limited to families earning less than a quarter of a million dollars per year, Sanders's plan has no income cap.

Warren's plan was estimated to cost $640 billion, but Sanders's campaign has yet to publish the potential cost of his proposal. His campaign said it would be paid for with a financial transactions tax and an impost on stock, bond, and derivative trades.

A report submitted by Fordham University listed the minimum salary for an associate professor at the school in 2015-2016 at $83,735 and the average at $114,900, with the average fringe benefits totaling $42,300.