Republican lawmaker calls for repeal of federal student loan program
The current federally offered student loan program is “a disservice to American students” and must be repealed according to a Republican lawmaker, who is seeking to urge Congress to do just that.
Rep. Andrew Fink, a first-time Republican lawmaker from Adams Township, introduced House Resolution 323 in late June just before lawmakers went on summer recess.
The resolution seeks to call on the federal government to cancel its Federal William D. Ford Direct Loan Program, which was authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965. This program offers a number of forms of student loans to eligible borrowers, including subsidized direct loans and unsubsidized loans.
The text of the resolution describes the program as “a burden on the whole economy”. Fink echoed that in a statement Monday, saying that while the program originally began as a way to make higher education a potential reality for all Americans, “rather, it has facilitated a new set of issues.”
The problems, Fink added, include rising tuition fees, which have made access to higher education more “expensive and unaffordable” than ever.
“Our elected leaders in Washington must accept that the federal student loan system does a disservice to American students and eliminate it before it does more financial harm to our nation,” Fink said.
It is estimated that approximately 45 million borrowers hold over $1.6 trillion in federal student debt in the United States. In addition, about 40% of students drop out before graduating and 84% of dropouts with debt do not repay their loans. after 12 years.
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Since 1980, US college tuition has more than doubled, affecting all students whether they take out loans or not. Fink said he believes the tuition increase is directly related to rising enrollment as a result of the federal student aid system.
Currently, student loan repayments are on pause and borrowers are not expected to resume payment until August 31, 2022. This comes after several extensions to this pause, which was first put in place to help quell economic hardship. that borrowers felt during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The resolution also addresses this issue by noting that if borrowers “can no longer expect to pay their student loan debt, the federal government must stop issuing it.”
“The future of higher education would be better without the existence of the federal student loan program,” he said. “I urge Congress to consider America’s future and the ramifications the current system has on college affordability and the financial well-being of students after college.”
The resolution does not address what would replace this borrowing program, if any, calling only for its complete repeal.
Several other Republicans are co-sponsors of the resolution, including Rep. Steve Carra of Three Rivers, Rep. Luke Meerman of Coopersville, Rep. Sue Allor of Wolverine, Rep. Ann Bollin of Brighton, and Rep. Bob Bezotte of Howell.
HR 323 has since been referred to the House Education Committee for review.
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