- Former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos criticized Biden’s student-loan forgiveness plans.
She said borrowers have plenty of options to pay back their debt without that relief.
Biden’s administration has previously criticized DeVos over her handling of student loans.
A former US Secretary of Education hopes that President Joe Biden puts a halt to his student-loan forgiveness plans.
Betsy DeVos, who served in the Education Department under former President Donald Trump, told conservative podcast The Daily Signal on Tuesday that she didn’t think Trump had the authority to cancel student debt broadly, and she hopes Biden will “follow the law” and arrive at the same conclusion.
“When we talk about this notion of forgiving student loans, what we’re really talking about is benefiting those who don’t necessarily need it,” DeVos said. “And the ones who are going to be ultimately paying for it are those who’ve never attended college, who didn’t take out student loans, taxpayers who chose not to go to higher education and take out student loans, or frankly, many taxpayers who have gone, who have faithfully paid off their student loans.”
“And so, it’s a matter of fairness,” DeVos added. “It’s not fair to go and just give massive student loan forgiveness.”
Video: Loans canceled for former students of Corinthian Colleges
Biden is reportedly considering forgiving $10,000 in student debt for federal borrowers making under $150,000 a year, and the announcement will likely happen close to when student-loan payments are set to resume after August 31. DeVos’ remarks on student-loan relief are similar to those of many Republican lawmakers who have slammed broad forgiveness, saying the policy would hurt the economy, cost taxpayers, and benefit those who need it the least.
DeVos also said that rather than forgiving student debt, “there’s a whole bunch of different income-based repayment plans” borrowers can use, along with the college scorecards that show potential costs and earnings for a particular field of study.
“So, there’s a lot of tools for students to use, and I would encourage all students to do that as they’re doing their due diligence,” DeVos said.
Income-driven repayment plans, though, have been flawed for decades. While the idea of the plans are to give borrowers affordable monthly payments based on their incomes with the promise of loan forgiveness after at least 20 years on repayment, an NPR investigation revealed in April that student-loan companies were failing to track payments borrowers made on the plans, pushing them far off the forgiveness route.
Biden’s Education Department has also criticized DeVos’ handling of the student-loan portfolio, particularly when it came to targeted student-loan relief for borrowers defrauded by for-profit schools. The relief, known as borrower defense to repayment, was supposed to discharge debt for those borrowers once they submit a claim, but DeVos ran up a huge backlog of those claims that resulted in a 99% denial rate.
Despite Republican pushback, many Democratic lawmakers are keeping pressure on Biden to go big on student-loan forgiveness to benefit those struggling the most. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Instagram over the weekend that “an arbitrary number” of relief won’t do.
“People get addicted to splitting things down the middle but there are policies where a halfway approach is kind of a waste as it’s not much better than nothing, and resources are better spent elsewhere,” she said. “We push so that people can actually experience the benefits of a policy.”
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