December 1, 2020
With her days in office waning, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is taking shots at student debt cancellation and tuition-free college proposals, hallmarks of President-elect Joe Biden’s agenda for higher education.
Speaking at an Education Department financial aid conference on Tuesday, DeVos criticized politicians — none by name — for advancing “the truly insidious notion of government gift giving.”
Biden has said that canceling at least a portion of the $1.6 trillion in student debt held by 44 million Americans is part of his economic recovery plan. He has supported at least $10,000 in federal loan forgiveness, while other leaders in the Democratic Party, including Sens. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), are calling for the cancellation of up to $50,000.
“We’ve heard shrill calls to cancel, to forgive, to make it all free,” DeVos said in her speech. “Any innocuous label out there can’t obfuscate what it really is: Wrong.”
Since taking office, DeVos has been accused by liberal lawmakers and consumer groups of going out of her way to limit loan forgiveness through existing federal programs.
Judge rejects settlement over stalled student debt relief claims, blames DeVos for harming borrowers
The secretary imposed a methodology that curbed debt cancellation under a federal program known as “borrower defense to repayment.” That program, which dates to 1994, provides federal loan relief to students whose colleges lied to get them to enroll. DeVos scrapped an Obama-era overhaul of the law that made it easier to seek forgiveness and accused opposing lawmakers of wanting “blanket forgiveness for anyone who raised their hand.”