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Partisan Divides Over Student Loans

Partisan Divides Over Student Loans

Inside Higher Ed

Katherine Knott
March 24, 2023
House Republicans who want to stop President Biden’s student loan policies used a hearing Thursday to outline why they think those policies are harmful to the economy and what changes they would prefer.
Utah representative Burgess Owens, a Republican who chairs the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee, focused his first hearing of the new Congress on examining the implications of the Biden administration’s student loan policies for students and taxpayers. The hearing showed the divides between Republicans and Democrats on the subcommittee on student loan issues and higher education more broadly.
“The Biden administration proposal is a patchwork attempt to fix a structural problem that will only make worse the issues of rising prices and low-quality educations—it is one that leaves students worse than if they had never enrolled in the first place,” Owens said.
He added that the hearing also would “present an alternative vision that will lower college costs, limit excessive borrowing, and ensure students and taxpayers get a return on their investment in postsecondary education.”
A key part of that vision appears to be some risk-sharing provision that would require colleges and universities to be financially liable for student loans in the event that a borrower doesn’t repay their loan, according to the queries at the hearing. Higher education associations have historically opposed risk-sharing measures.
Owens said the colleges that have “no skin in the game” are the only ones that benefit from the student debt crisis.
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