Nearly half of the country’s governors have signed a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to withdraw his student loan forgiveness plan that would waive up to $20,000 for federal aid borrowers.
“As governors, we support making higher education more affordable and accessible to students in our states, but we fundamentally oppose your plan to force American taxpayers to pay off student loan debt from a elite…” the the governors said in a letter dated Monday.
The governors, all Republicans, say lower-income Americans will pay the debts of doctors, lawyers and professors “in debt, like $50,000 or more…”
However, Biden’s plan caps relief at $20,000 for those who received Pell grants — given to low-income students — and $10,000 for students who did not get Pell grants in university. Also, people earning more than $125,000 are not eligible for one-time relief.
“College may not be the right decision for all Americans, but for students who took out loans, it was their decision: capable adults and willing borrowers who knowingly agreed to the terms of the loan and agreed to take on debt in exchange for taking classes,” the letter states. “A high-cost degree is not the key to unlocking the American dream — hard work and personal responsibility are.”
He further argues that it is unfair to those who have already paid off their student loans.
Governors also expressed concern that the discount plan could encourage higher education institutions to raise costs, and thus worsen inflation.
“Rather than tackling rising tuition fees for higher education or working to lower interest rates for student loans, your plan kicks things off and compounds today’s problems. today for the students of tomorrow.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona told NPR in August the forgiveness plan was born largely as a way to undo the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and will stimulate the economy accordingly.
“Everyone knows someone who is struggling after the pandemic,” he said. “And, you know, if we help people in the communities so that they — reduce the risk of them defaulting, everybody wins. It helps the economy.”
The letter is signed by 22 Republican governors, including:
The governors also challenge Biden’s authority to implement the plan, saying, “As president, you do not have the authority to exercise unilateral action to usher in a sweeping student loan cancellation plan.”
In seven states, rebate payments could be taxed as income.
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