Sen. Elizabeth Warren's College Journey Says So Much About The Power Of Investing In Young People

In a recent interview with CNBC, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) revealed she lived a “whole ‘nother life” before politics — and touched on how her own experience getting through college despite coming from a low-income, working class background helped her become the politician we know today. 

In the interview, Warren talked about growing up in a paycheck-to-paycheck family with three military brothers. Her career goal growing up was to teach public school, but she knew her family wouldn’t be able to afford her education, she told CNBC.

So, Warren said, she got married when she was 19 and found a commuter college that cost just $50 a semester where she "hung on for dear life." Warren added that believes that opportunities like this aren’t available for America’s kids anymore — which is backed up by studies like this one from the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) that found that 70 percent of colleges are unaffordable for lower-income and middle-income students (particularly for those who don't want to or cannot take out student loans to cover their costs). 

“Here I am, the daughter of a janitor, who ended up as a public school teacher, a university professor, and a United States senator because America invested in kids. That opportunity's not out there today,” Warren said. “Because kids like me, that door's only going to open once for them, and it needs to open now. It doesn't need to open 10 years from now or 20 years from now; it needs to open now.”

In the interview, Warren also touched on her polarizing reputation, her views on capitalism and the state of the Democratic party in 2018. 

For Warren, Democrats “believe there's value in each of us, and that government can be a real force for good on health care, on helping our kids get an education, on building the infrastructure we need to build, on fighting back this horrible opioid crisis, on investing in medical research.” 

And as for her reputation for being a "polarizing" figure? Warren says doesn’t see it like that — and instead sees it as a part of being transparent about what she's working toward. 

"I see it as wherever I go people know what I fight for," she said. "And a lot of folks agree with me, and even a lot of folks who don't respect the fact that I’m pretty darn clear about it and pretty straightforward."